Romano Fenati's slim championship hopes appear to have vanished after the Sky VR46 squad sensationally suspended him from the team on the eve of the Austrian Grand Prix, meaning he will not take part in the Moto3 encounter on Sunday.
The Italian had qualified eleventh for the 23-lap affair but apparently behaved in an inappropriate manner in the afternoon, with initial rumours suggesting he has fallen out with members of his crew.
A very short statement from the team read, “Following repeated behavior not in line with the disciplinary rules of a Team - the rider Romano Fenati has been suspended. He will not be on the starting grid of the Austrian Grand Prix.”
The decision suggests Sky VR46 had little faith in Fenati overturning the current championship deficit of 66 points to Brad Binder. Considering his experience, his performances in 2016 have been slightly disappointing, but he is nevertheless the second best placed KTM in the series.
The 20-year old performed dismally in the previous race in Germany, finishing well out of the points in 18th, an astonishing 74 seconds back of the race winner. In the two outings before, he narrowly missed out on podium finishes despite holding a competitive position throughout the race.
The team's statement does not indicate whether the suspension is indefinite. Fenati has a deal in place to step up to Moto2 in 2017 with the Sky VR46 team, a move that is now in serious doubt.