Andrea Iannone’s 18-month doping ban has been extended to four years following an unsuccessful appeal, likely bringing to an end his top-class motorcycling career.
The Italian was found guilty of doping by the FIM in March after testing positive for Drostanolone – a type of anabolic steroid – during the Malaysian Grand Prix last November, receiving an 18-month ban from participating in any motorcycle racing or activity.
Iannone contested that he had ingested the drug in contaminated meat ahead of the Malaysian event and tried to get the ban overturned with support of his Aprilia MotoGP squad.
His attempted to appeal his ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an independent party that deals with disputes within sport.
The World Anti Doping Angency (WADA) meanwhile sought to increase Iannone’s ban from 18 months to four years after Iannone made public of his decision to appeal, his hearing taking place last month.
The CAS subsequently found that Iannone was unable to establish what kind of meat he had eaten, nor the origin of the matter, effectively leaving the panel with only his protestations of innocence and lack of incentive to dope as his defence.
CAS therefore came to the conclusion that they couldn’t prove Iannone’s ingestion of the drug was innocent in nature, ruling that he had in fact committed an intentional act of doping, upholding WADA’s appeal that Iannone should be imposed with a stricter four-year ban that will take effect as of December 17th 2019.
Aprilia have stuck by Iannone throughout the process with a view to re-instating the one-time premier class victor to its ranks for the 2021 season, though the CAS’s verdict will now likely mean the end of his career in professional motorcycle racing.
Iannone racked up three successive third-place finishes in the Moto2 world championship before stepping up to the premier class with Pramac Ducati outfit for the ’13 campaign.
Having impressed the factory Ducati team across his two year stint with the squad, he earned a promotion to the official outfit for ’15 alongside Andrea Dovizioso-scoring his debut rostrum first time out in Qatar.
He would bag a first ever win-and Ducati’s first in five years-in the Austrian GP of ’16, though would ultimately lose his ride with Ducati after taking out team-mate Dovizioso during the Argentina GP earlier that season after the factory elected to sign Jorge Lorenzo from Yamaha.
A two year stay at Suzuki followed before he would be let go, though he would find reprieve at Aprilia.
He completed the ’19 season on the Italian manufacturer’s RS-GP before his sanction was imposed, finishing a low-key 16th in the riders points standings with a best result of sixth in the Australian GP at Phillip Island.
Cal Crutchlow looks to be in prime position to take Iannone’s seat that has been shared between Aprilia test riders Bradley Smith and Lorenzo Savadori this season, the Brit having thought to have signed a pre-contract dependent on the outcome of Iannone’s appeal.