Andrea Iannone given 4-year doping ban

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) issued a ruling this Tuesday in relation to the appeal and arbitration procedure between the MotoGP rider, Andrea Iannone and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Analysis carried out in Malaysia on the Italian found an anabolic steroid (Drostanolone) included in the list of prohibited drugs by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Now, after a hearing on October 15, a panel of CAS judges rejected the appeal presented by Iannone and upheld the appeal presented by WADA. 

As a result, the pilot has been sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of four years commencing on 17 December 2019; during which time which he will not be able to take part in any official competition. 

As if the above was not punishment enough, all competitive results achieved with Aprilia Racing Team from and including 1 November 2019 are disqualified, including the forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes. 

Andrea Iannone & WADA appeals

Andrea Iannone and WADA filed separate appeals against the original decision of the International Motorcycle Federation. The pilot alleged that the source of the prohibited substance came from some meat product that he had eaten in Malaysia some days before the race.

He, therefore, protested his innocence alleging the substance was accidentally ingested and applied for his acquittal and the full annulment of the decision. 

WADA, for its part, appealed for a four-year sanction, since Andrea Iannone was unable to establish the type or origin of the meat he had consumed, and experts were not able to demonstrate any anabolic drug contamination on those dates in the Asian country. 

The CAS decision now effectively annuls the ruling of the FIM International Disciplinary Court of March 31, 2020, and the Italian will have to face a four full-year ban. The sanction is likely to be the end of Andrea Iannone’s career as he will not be able to compete until November 2023, when he will be 34 years old.

Andrea Iannone´s replacement

Obviously, the ban extension has caused great sadness at the Italian team who had stood by its pilot right from the initial doping control before the Malaysian GP in Sepang. In fact, Aprilla had not yet hired a replacement for Iannone, something they will need to do immediately. The substitute will team up with Spaniard Aleix Espargaro, who is in contract with the team until the end of 2022. 

Unable to sign Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Bezzechi is likely to be the Italian team’s first choice. The young pilot who will turn 22 on November 12, is completing his second year in Moto2, his first with the SKY Racing Team VR46. 

If Aprilla doesn’t reach an agreement with the Valentino Rossi Academy, to which Bezzechi belongs, they might consider offering the job to Briton Cal Crutchlow 

In 2019, Aprilia test driver, Bradley Smith, took the seat of Andrea Iannone until the European GP, where he was replaced by the Italian Lorenzo Savadori.

Images of Andrea Iannone: Aprilia Racing Team.

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