The ‘B’ sample Aprilia MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone submitted at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP has tested positive, according to reports from Italian news outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport.
However, the report notes the ‘B’ sample only contained small traces of the banned anabolic exogenous androgenic steroid Drostanolone, with Iannone’s legal team citing food contamination as a possible cause.
“The counter analysis should attest to the presence of metabolites equal to 1,150 nanograms per milliliter, a small quantity, considering also that the rider had been in Asia for over a month and that the test, performed immediately after the GP, was relative to a urine sample very dense, equal to 1.024, due to strong dehydration after the race,” the Gazzetta quotes Iannone’s lawyer as saying.
Iannone tested positive to Drostanolone after a routine drug test at the Malaysian MotoGP on November 3, 2019, and was provisionally suspended pending the result of the ‘B’ sample test. The Italian former MotoGP winner now faces a possible four-year ban from the sport.
“I have no plan B,” Iannone said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. “The bike is my life. I am not a fool who plays it like this. I just want to get back on my Aprilia as soon as possible and overcome this moment.”
Drostanolone is an anabolic exogenous androgenic steroid that was formerly used in the treatment of breast cancer in women and is now more common with bodybuilding activities that is injected into the muscle. This will form a crucial part of Iannone’s defense, as bodybuilding and increased muscle mass are at odds with the slim physique required to be competitive in MotoGP. Iannone underwent a weight loss program during the 2018-19 offseason alongside teammate Aleix Espargaro that was largely cardio-based and was a program constantly monitored by Aprilia.
It’s a very tough situation for Iannone, as he and his legal team must prepare and argue his case at a disciplinary hearing that may take up to 45 days to hear a verdict. Thus, it is likely Iannone will miss the Sepang MotoGP test in February at best and would require a lenient sentence if he is to make the first round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar on March 6-8.
Aprilia now faces a conundrum of who to put on the second RS-GP machine alongside Aleix Espargaro for the pre-season tests and possibly the Qatar round, with test rider Bradley Smith or Czech rider Karel Abraham in the picture.
Andrea Iannone Provisionally Suspended From MotoGP
Aprilia MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has been provisionally suspended by the FIM for testing positive to an anabolic steroid in a test carried out by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang.
“The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has advised Italian Grand Prix rider Andrea Iannone that he is provisionally suspended pursuant to Article 7.9.1 of the 2019 FIM Anti-doping Code (CAD),” read a statement issued by the FIM on December 17, 2019.
“The decision to provisionally suspend Mr. Andrea Iannone was mandatory following the receipt of a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Kreischa b. Dresden (Germany) indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of a non-specified substance under Section 1.1.a) Exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) of the 2019 Prohibited List, in a urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test carried out by the FIM at the round of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship held in Sepang, Malaysia on 3 November 2019.
“Mr. Andrea Iannone has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample. Mr. Andrea Iannone is provisionally suspended with effect from 17 December 2019. He is therefore barred from participating in any motorcycling competition or activity until further notice.
“Under Article 126.96.36.199 CAD, Mr. Iannone may request lifting of his provisional suspension. Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the FIM Anti-Doping Code, the FIM is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”
Iannone switched to Aprilia to replace Scott Redding for the 2019 MotoGP season, having raced previously for the factory Suzuki and Ducati teams, and for the Pramac Ducati team. He took his only MotoGP win to date at the Austrian MotoGP in 2016 while riding for the factory Ducati squad.
Iannone’s best finish for Aprilia in 2019 was sixth place at the Australian MotoGP where he briefly led the race, marking the first time an Aprilia led a MotoGP event.
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