Romano Fenati was considered Italian racing’s new wunderkind when he stood on the podium in his first ever Moto3 race and won the following encounter in Spain. He was acclaimed by his native media as the future Valentino Rossi and his nickname became ‘Talentino’.
A rollercoaster career followed. Fenati flew close to the burning sun that is The Doctor but burnt his wings. Sacked from the SKY VR|46 Racing team last year for strong misunderstandings with team bosses, last year he was forced to stop. Exactly one year after his success at Austin and 12 months of fasting, Fenati won again on the same track, but he is not the same person.
Fenati thinks differently. On the podium at Austin he was radiant and moved as he had never been before. Now that the MotoGP circus moves to Jerez and to the European circuits, the spotlight is on this 21-year-old Italian:
BSN: Austin was a special victory, arriving after a very difficult time…
RF: “It was a very emotional moment. In the last four laps I cried so much in my helmet that I almost lost control of the bike. I have never cried for a race before, not for my first podium or GP victory. This time it was different. I dedicated this result to my land (referring to his region, damaged from an earthquake).
“I wanted to do something special for my land, because after you lived in first person such a dramatic experience as the earthquake, you are no more the same. I wanted to do a helmet that represented Ascoli Piceno, my home town, as a symbol of all the other villages and towns damaged. At the bottom of the design there are all the main monuments from Ascoli and on the top the cupola from the church Sant’Emidio to protect everything and all of us. My invitation is to come and visit my beautiful territory! Help us to restart. This is the best way to support the population.”
How do you feel after a difficult year and a forced stop?
“I have no resentment or feeling of revenge. For sure at the beginning I suffered a lot but in the end there was a positive outcome. I could dedicate my time to help those in my hometown who and suffered from the earthquake. The satisfaction to help those people was bigger than racing. Meanwhile I never stopped training, both physically and mentally.”
What have you learned from this experience?
“My personal story and what happened to my land taught me that you have to live in the moment and always give the maximum. Every evening, when I go to bed, I want to be able to say to myself: ‘I have given the maximum’.”
Did you miss the paddock and racing?
“I really looked forward to returning on track and scoring good results. Racing is my life.”
Are you among the title contenders?
“I consider all the rivals dangerous, from the first one to the last one. We are at the beginning of the season and everything can happen.”
Currently fourth at 13 points from Mir, also on a Honda, the world title is your target?
“The victory is encouraging but I don’t want to set targets. Every year it seems the good one, and then… so I prefer not to make forecasts because you never know what can happen. I’m motivated and calm at the same time. I want to take the start every Sunday focused to enjoy myself. I want to remain with my feet on the ground. I’m committed to work well race after race. I want to be happy of my work and go to bed with the satisfaction that I gave all and did my best.”
The MotoGP circus is heading to Europe. Spain but soon also Mugello in Italy. How do you see yourself?
“The Italian circuits like Mugello, but also Misano, are very fascinating. They are magic because of the support of the fans. Their support is so strong and loud that it is as if they are on the bike with you. But I also like Jerez and Phillip Island, so I look forward to the next rounds.”
Honda is on top of the world standing with four bikes, how do you feel with the it?
“The Honda is working well as is shown by the results. The chassis in particular is really good. Maybe the KTM is still a bit faster, but as a package the Honda is performing really well.”