Andrea Iannone Suspended for 18 Months for Doping Violation

Rennie Scaysbrook | April 1, 2020

Andrea Iannone Suspended for 18 Months for Doping Violation

Andrea Iannone has been handed an 18-month suspension from all racing activities after testing positive to anabolic steroids at a routine doping test carried out at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP.

Andrea Iannone Suspended for 18 Months
Iannone has one last chance left to clear his name and can launch an appeal at the CAS within 21 days.

Iannone is suspended from competition from December 17, 2019, which is the date of the provisional suspension, to June 16, 2021.

Factory Aprilia racer Iannone tested positive for the anabolic agent Drostanolone, yet maintains it was due to consuming contaminated food. The punishment handed down by the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI) means Iannone will have to sit out the entirety of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship and nearly half of the 2021 season, all but ending the former MotoGP racer winner’s racing career.

Iannone can lodge an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland within 21 days. Below is the full statement released by the FIM.

“The FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI) handed down on 31 March 2020 a decision imposing a period of ineligibility of eighteen months on Italian MotoGP Rider Mr. Andrea Iannone, commencing on 17 December 2019 (i.e. the effective date of the Provisional Suspension) and which shall end on 16 June 2021.

Andrea Iannone Suspended for 18 Months ride
Could Iannone’s career be over?

“Following a routine In-Competition doping test conducted at the round of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship held in Sepang, Malaysia on 3 November 2019, Mr. Andrea Iannone tested positive for Drostanolone metabolite (2α-methyl-5α-androstane-3α-ol-17-one), a WADA prohibited substance under heading “S1. Anabolic Agents, 1. Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS), a. Exogenous AAS” of the FIM Anti-doping Code.

“Following notification of his adverse analytical finding Mr. Iannone was provisionally suspended by the FIM since 17 December 2019.

“A hearing before the CDI on the merits of the case was held in Mies (Switzerland) on 4 February 2020. At the end of the hearing, the CDI panel decided to suspend the hearing pending the additional and final written submissions of the parties (i.e. 28 February 2020).

“Mr. Iannone is disqualified from Round 18 of the 2019 FIM Grand Prix World Championship held on November 1-3, 2019, in Sepang (Malaysia) and Round 19 of the 2019 FIM Grand Prix World Championship held on November 15-17, 2019, in Valencia (Spain) with all of the resulting

consequences including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

“An appeal against the CDI decision may be lodged before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland within 21 days from the date of receipt of the CDI decision pursuant to Article 13.7of the FIM Anti-doping Code.”

Andrea Iannone Remains Provisionally Suspended

Andrea Iannone’s hopes of being at the Sepang MotoGP test currently underway came to naught after no verdict was reached by the International Disciplinary Court on Tuesday with regards to his doping case.

Andrea Iannone verdict
Iannone’s career is still in limbo following his hearing at the International Disciplinary Court for doping charges.

Iannone tested positive for an anabolic steroid at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP and requested for his B Sample to also be tested, which also came back positive.

Below is the statement released by the FIM.

“Following a routine In-Competition doping test conducted at the round of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship held in Sepang, Malaysia on 3 November 2019, Mr. Andrea Iannone tested positive for a WADA prohibited substance and is now provisionally suspended since 17 December 2019.

“Mr. Andrea Iannone requested an analysis of his B sample which also confirmed the result of the A sample analysis.

“The hearing of the International Disciplinary Court (CDI) took place today at the FIM Headquarters in the presence of a panel of three judges of the CDI where Mr. Iannone had the opportunity to present his case.

“The proceeding is still ongoing until a CDI decision is rendered. Mr. Andrea Iannone remains provisionally suspended until then and is therefore barred from participating in any motorcycling competition or related activity until further notice.

“Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the FIM Anti-Doping Code, the FIM is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”

According to reports from Italian media, the soonest Iannone can expect a verdict will be 10 days, but could also take up to 45 days. Iannone faces a possible four-year ban from all motorcycle competition, which would all but end the former MotoGP race winner’s international racing career.

Iannone’s place in the Aprilia Racing Team at the Sepang test will likely be taken by British test rider, Bradley Smith, who will conduct the important work of shaking down the all-new Aprilia RS-GP 2020.

Andrea Iannone ‘B’ Sample Tests Positive

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.

Andrea Iannone test positive
These are indeed dark days for Andrea Iannone, who now faces a legal battle to clear his name.

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.”

Andrea Iannone Valencia
Iannone leads teammate Aleix Espargaro and Pol Espargaro at the Valenica MotoGP in 2019.

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.

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone’s career could be over following a positive drug test.

“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.

Andrea Iannone 1
Iannone in action for Aprilia during the Malaysian MotoGP event.

“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 7.9.3.2 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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Rennie Scaysbrook | Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook is our Road Test Editor. A lifetime rider, the Aussie made the trek across the Pacific to live the dream in the U.S. of A. Likes puppies and wheelies.