Andrea Iannone has been banned from FIM competition for 18 months after being found guilty of doping, with the Italian and current employer Aprilia set to appeal the decision.
Iannone tested positive for a banned substance in the lead up to the Malaysian Grand Prix last year, and was provisionally banned from all FIM competition in December.
This forced him to miss the pre-season Sepang and Qatar tests, and would have prevented him from taking to the grid for the campaign-opening Qatar GP had it not been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FIM announced on Wednesday that Iannone’s ban would remain final, and that he would have to miss competition for an 18-month period, although conceded that the ingestion of the anabolic steroids was “accidental”.
As the ban is backdated to the start of his initial suspension it will run the course through 16 June 2021.
Aprilia Team Gresini MotoGP CEO Massimo Rivola labelled the decision “absurd” and confirmed the Italian manufacturer would be appealing the decision.
The sentence leaves us baffled by the punishment imposed on Andrea but also very satisfied in his motivations,” the statement began.
“The judges recognized Andrea’s total good faith and unconsciousness in hiring confirming the thesis of food contamination.
“For this reason, the penalty imposed does not make any sense, in light of the reasons written by the judges Andrea should have been acquitted, as has always happened to the other contaminated athletes, but this picture leaves us with much hope for the appeal that we hope will be very fast.
“We want Andrea riding his Aprilia RS-GP, we will be at his side until the end of this story and we will support him in his appeal”.
It was also confirmed by the FIM that Iannone would be excluded the Malaysian event and the season finale at Valencia, although as he retired from both this has no effect on either the Riders’ or Teams’ standings.
Aprilia’s factory premier class outfit pledged their continued support for Iannone following the news of his provisional ban, confirming they would allow him to return as a race rider should a short-term ban materialise.