Cal Crutchlow says he hasn’t altered his opinion on Romano Fenati based on the disgraced Moto2 rider’s ‘sob story’.

Italian rider Fenati issued an apology after grabbing the brake lever of rival Stefano Manzi during the last race at Misano in Italy, which resulted in widespread condemnation.

The 22-year-old received a two-race ban, while his Marinelli Snipers team terminated his current contract and MV Agusta his 2019 deal. The Italian federation suspended Fenati's license.

The Italian later said he would quit motorcycle racing and intended to ‘go back to school’.

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LCR Honda MotoGP rider Crutchlow called for Fenati to be banned for life and two weeks on from the shocking incident, the British rider said his view remained unchanged.

“No, I didn’t change my mind – even though he pulled what in English we call the sob story,” said Crutchlow, speaking at the pre-race press conference on Thursday. “It’s like he apologised and now everybody has to feel sorry for him.

“I don’t believe it and he has done many strange things. Sure, I’m no angel on the track and some other riders (are) no angel, but this to me was the limit. So I don’t change my mind at all.”

Reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez said that while Fenati deserved a ‘strong penalty’, he felt the subsequent media coverage of the incident was ‘too much’.

“For me, the action was hard, it was enough to have a strong penalty, what I believe is that two races (ban) was not enough, but strong penalty. But what I’m not agreed is what (it) created in the media.

“It was on the news in Spain and speaking about him every day – too much. In the past, not many years ago, this already happened and okay, it was another time, but also two or three years ago something happened like this with different riders; five years ago a different thing happened, but also one rider crashed and the other stayed on the track.

“It must be a penalty, but it was too much for him because it looked one time like he kicked somebody, and of course it was a strong move, but it was not like this.”

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso also felt the media had handled coverage of the incident ‘in the wrong way’.

The Italian said: “I agree with Marc, because he needs a strong penalty; also because he did already something in the past and this is really bad. If you already make something bad in the past and maybe the penalty wasn’t big enough and he didn’t understand, and he did something bad in Misano – so the penalty had to be strong.

“But like Marc situation, the media spoke too much about that and they went in the wrong way because they spoke about stupid things, not about racing. This also created a really bad situation…I don’t this situation and I don’t like the way the media managed that.”

'We are treating him as a murderer'

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro said he was 'devastated' to hear Fenati would be quitting the sport and felt Manzi should have been punished more for the clashes prior to Fenati's brake grab.

"I think that it's unbelievable what's going on. I don’t understand the Manzi penalty. It's bullshit. Manzi should stay home for two races, because he hit him two times," Espargaro said.

"What Fenati did was unbelievable. I don’t know how the brain of a rider can think to do that and it is not the first time he did something like this. But we are treating him as a murderer, I mean it's crazy. He's just a kid riding a bike.

"He made a big mistake and he will have to pay for it, but when I read that he is very sorry, he will not race anymore and go back to work in his home city, I was devastated. I mean he's a kid. Come on, this is a sport. He made a big mistake, was penalised  - maybe two races was not enough, maybe not racing anymore this season [should have been the punishment] – but I've read many, many stupid things.

"Fonsi Nieto did this in the past to Elias and they were joking after the race. Times change and the penalty has to be a lot stronger than in the past because we have to learn, but come on, a bit of common sense. It was crazy."

The Spaniard added of the series of announcements about Fenati that followed the incident: "For me, the 'ball' was getting bigger and bigger and super highspeed. I read also about the court in Italy that wants to [investigate the incident]… come on. It's a race, a sport.

"Okay, he did a big mistake, but I feel very bad, sincerely.

"Lorenzo said that when he was young he was constantly doing stupid things and when they gave him a penalty of one race [ban] he changed and no more negative actions. So maybe it was good to do a shock to Fenati, a penalty to not race any more this season, and I'm sure he will change.

"I don’t have a problem if he comes to MotoGP [in future], we have worse riders in MotoGP!"

Fenati's fellow Italian and current MotoGP rookie Franco Morbidelli said: "I think he did a bad thing, we all do. But I also think many people said many bad things about him. He was in a weak position and everyone started to attack him and throw rocks. This made me a little bit sad and sorry.

"I hope he will get a ride for this year or for next year. We should just rely on [the FIM Steward’s] penalisation and that’s it. We should not start to listen to everyone else’s opinion that might be a bit carried by I-don’t-know-what.

"The human instinct is to maybe throw someone down instead of helping him out if he did a bad thing – which he did. We should be more forgiving I think, many people have been very mean."



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