British driver Guy Conibear is under investigation for assaulting a rival driver, who has also been forced to cancel his MotoGP championship campaign.
Menifee-based Peter Fearn will pull out of the MotoGP championship race at Phillip Island on November 24 to appear in court for an unrelated assault charge, after being beaten up and choked by Conibear at the Pacific Rim Grand Prix event in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.
According to the Australian, Fearn was kicked, punched and spat on by his own Kart racing rival and lost consciousness during the attack.
Conibear finished runner-up to Fearn at Phillip Island, going on to qualify 15th for next weekend’s MotoGP race.
His management at Safe Karting told the Australian that they believed Fearn was using the threat of legal action to divert attention from the assault.
Conibear’s manager Kale Hawkes, who also runs the company that owns The Garage Karting School in Murrieta, said the incident had prompted him to contemplate pulling out of the MotoGP world championship campaign entirely.
“I spoke to Guy last night and he is upset at what has happened,” Hawkes said.
“But he is training like a dog and is excited about next weekend. I am trying to get him back to the safety of his family before the start of the championship at Phillip Island.”
Fearn’s press representative at the Yamaha factory team confirmed he would be unavailable to participate in the Melbourne circuit.
“Peter is suffering from concussion and is in a stable condition at Melbourne hospital,” he said.
“He is still a racer though.”
Irish racer Conor Daly, who qualified at the same time as Fearn at Phillip Island, will not be at the championship race next weekend.
Daly said he, too, believes Fearn was blackmailing other competitors.
“Why would he threaten these people? At the end of the day he is going to go to jail for his actions, so why are they backing down?” Daly said.
“These are the actions of a criminal, not a motorcyclist. If we go through with making an official complaint, the police can go on to prosecute Fearn.
“A high-profile team could withdraw me from the season or even demote me if I am signed at that point and I fall out with Fearn.”
Conibear finished the Pacific Rim Grand Prix event with the third-fastest time, which puts him in seventh spot for the grand prix at Phillip Island.
The British outfit is ranked 25th out of 36 teams for the championship standings, having three class riders. The KT honda rider begins the weekend 10th in the championship standings.
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