The Evolution of Romano Fenati

© Bruce Allen July 12, 2019

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Let me assure you that at some point we will actually discuss Romano Fenati. He’s a rider in the Moto3 World Championship currently in 17th place, his year ruined by four consecutive DNFs beginning at COTA and ending, for now, at Mugello. He has been de-fanged.

But first I want to talk about human evolution from early on, when all we had was what I refer to as “lizard brain,”–highly reactive, split-second decisions and reactions with incomplete information, damn-the-torpedoes, here goes nothing, etc. You get the picture. Fight or flee. Over eons, as a species, our intellectual capabilities have evolved to where we rely almost exclusively on reason, rather than reaction. We revert to our “lizard brain” under moments of extreme stress. We flood. And there are, it seems, varying, recognizable levels of evolution at work in individuals, one of whom bears mentioning is Fenati.

If we assert an evolutionary continuum on a scale with “lizard brain” on the left and, say, John Le Carré on the right, I would assert that Fenati’s lineage is, for some reason, less-highly evolved than most professional motorcycle riders. Farther to the left. This being the case, he has, at least in the recent past, seen his lizard brain take over things and, for instance, reach over to hit Stefano Manzi’s brake lever at 200 km/h during a race. Hitting some other guy’s kill switch during practice. The problem is not Fenati’s behavior which, itself, is, in fact, a problem–The Red Mist. The real problem is that Fenati’s problem–overly-quick reversion to lizard brain during races–is evolutionary in nature an unlikely to be “fixed” in this century.

He made a run at a Moto3 world title in 2017 at the age of 21, finishing second for the year, brave in the extreme, earning a reputation by passing other riders on the outside of turns. But he was snappish, overly aggressive at times, typical “little guy” mentality. Probably came up either poor or rich in a chaotic environment, which he unconsciously seeks to repeat in his current life. In 2018 he lost his license for the episode with Manzi and appeared to be headed out of grand prix racing. But he was later welcomed back by his team, looking forward to an exciting 2019 season. Which has since turned to, uh, dust.

Fenati is, I think, a gifted athlete with a bad temper and no accountability. Now that he’s “mellow,” he’s no good on the track. Compare him to Eric Clapton, who was a much better guitarist when he was a junkie than later when he got clean. Perhaps this is only a maturity issue for the young Italian, but it is an issue nonetheless. To be meandering in 17th place after a year in Moto2 and a strong Moto3 season in 2017 tells me Samson’s hair has been cut.

He had Alien written all over him in 2017. Not any more.

I’m glad I’m not Romano Fenati. It is a hard thing to watch the guy on track, struggling, waiting for his tires to go off, waiting for him to go off.

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5 Responses to “The Evolution of Romano Fenati”

  1. Starmag Says:

    Karma, baby. It was a poor decision by whoever, (based on what, greed in some form?), to welcome him back after the brake incident. Poor impulse control creating danger to others. Self-centered in the extreme. “All though the day, I Me, Mine”. It would be one thing if everybody was like this, but they are not. If they were, I’m sure the rocket launchers attached to the bikes demanded by the self-centered would be entertaining for a bit but really short-lived.

    “Eric Clapton, who was a much better guitarist when he was a junkie than later when he got clean.” Maybe, but I’d argue he’s a better songwriter off the junk, which is where the money is, and well, he’s still alive to enjoy that money which he wouldn’t be if he kept riding horsey.


  2. Old MOron Says:

    Well Brucey, you’ve penned such high-quality analysis for so long, it was inevitable that you’d turn out a dud at some point. This is it.


    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Just a wild hair I had yesterday morning early. That how quickly riders go from lucid and calculating to lizard must have something to do with evolution. Were mankind likely to make it for another thousand years–we’re not–I think the lizard part will have almost disappeared. Naughty is an evolutionary throwback. Sorry it didn’t hit. ‘Cause if you didn’t like it, no one did. ;-P


  3. Vrooom Says:

    To be fair, Clapton was lousy after recovery when he went through a deeply religous period and jamming didn’t interest him. He got it back when he went back to the blues. Fenati will not.


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