Casey Stoner: He really impressed me in the first race, but to win by 36 seconds, that must be a record in the smallest class.
Jorge Lorenzo: I think we have a really good star, he can keep his calm and keep his pace especially in Qatar, where Vinales was little faster. He surely has a place in racing. In diffficult conditions where it would have been easy to make mistakes, he kept calm and was really fast.
Dani Pedrosa: I noticed him in Qatar when he finished second behind Vinales. Here he won with an embarrasing gap against his rivals. There’s him and Antonelli who will probably need more time …
Valentino Rossi: One word only: awesome. He’s only sixteen but he seems to be in GP racing for the last twenty years. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a talent like him. He’s better than I was when I debuted and he’s also nice. Yes he reminds me of someone …
Who are MotoGP biggies talking about? Romano Fenati naturally. ‘FennyFive’ as he’s nicknamed, received accolades from everyone yesterday when he won the Jerez Moto3 race in treacherous conditions, but it wasn’t only the fact that he managed to stay on when seventeen other riders crashed out, he did it by pulling a 36 second gap over the others as he posted fast lap after fast lap (his best was 1.52.7), and now he’s captured the Italian media spotlight who has already dubbed him “The Phenomenon.”
Fenati didn’t jump out of anywhere, he was last year’s European Championship and last year’s CIV runner-up (he was pipped by 0.019s and two points by Niccolò Antonelli) and this season the Italian Motorcycle Federation who backs Team Italia - run by former World Champion Roberto (Loca) Locatelli - decided the time was right to promote the teenager (he turned 16 in January) into the big leagues. His debut in Qatar with a second place was better than Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and even Giacomo Agostini when the debuted in the GP motorcycling scene.
If you don’t think that this victory is important for a country who is waning on champions (the last Italian victory in the lower classes was Andrea Iannone in 2009 and for Team Italia you have to go back to 1987 to see Fausto Gresini) just read the words of Paolo Sesti - the FMI President:
“Team Italia FMI wins in Spain and is now on top of the world. It’s been a long time. This results shows that we have a serious and structured project. I want to thank everyone who worked in the shadows throughout these months and Romano, who made us cry with his performance. We still have a long way to go and we want to stay humble. Team Italia’s tradition and pride will be our guidance.”
So what did Fenati have to say about all this? “I’m very happy about the victory. I started well, getting into the top positions, then kept my pace until the end. I want to thank the whole team, and of course my family, who supported me throughout the week-end as I was getting to grips with the wet track. It was a great race and we now lead the championship. I go into the Estoril round with great humility and the curiosity to discover a track with such a great tradition,”