Andrea Iannone has released a statement regarding his 18-month FIM suspension on his official Instagram account.
The Italian has been banned after testing positive for the steroid Drostanolone in a drugs test held after the Malaysian Grand Prix last November. The ban runs from 17 December 2019 to 16 June 2021.
This means that Iannone will miss the entirety of 2020, no matter how long or short this season may turn out to be, and the opening few rounds of 2021. The Aprilia rider has also been disqualified from last year's races at Sepang and Valencia, however he didn't finish either of those races, so that ruling doesn’t affect Iannone’s or Aprilia’s championship position.
Aprilia defended their rider yesterday and vowed to aid his appeal after it was revealed that Iannone’s accidental use claim was recognised by judges involved in Iannone's case. The 30-year-old has now had his say on the matter.
"It's been months since this sad story started and I confess that every day felt like a year," Iannone wrote on Instagram. "Being judged innocent doesn't leave me happy because, for the first time in history, an athlete is judged innocent and at the same time sentenced to 18 months for taking contaminated food out of his control. I won't stop at this sentence because it will never have to happen for anyone else again.
"Despite the suffering of having to walk an impervious and unchosen path, unfairly, I have decided to continue my every step in silence. My silent suffering, however, has hidden until today everything that this affair has taught me - Nothing is obvious, and everything can change in a second."
"I also carry many positive notes, such as your affection or having been able to evaluate people and being made more mature. That's right, despite everything, today I am more mature and aware of your affection. You never left me and accompanied me in every moment of this sad and hard path. That's why I will face my future forever remembering these moments, trying to have the strength I had, giving the best of me to others.
"In thanking all of you who have stood by me, however, I also address my gratitude to friends, family and my father in particular, to the whole team at Aprilia, in Massimo Rivola and to all of my sponsors who have never abandoned me.
"In addition to my thanks, I address all my esteem to my attorney, Antonio De Rensis, who has stood my by at all times like a father does with his children. To all of you, I will be forever grateful."
Iannone is likely to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, given that his claim of food contamination was accepted. It's not known how long this process would take, but with the coronavirus pandemic putting all sport on hold, Iannone has time on his side for now.
If the season begins before the decision of Iannone's appeal is made, Aprilia will likely turn to their test rider, Bradley Smith. The Brit replaced Iannone for this year's pre-season tests in Sepang and Qatar.
MotoGP: Aprilia blast 'absurd' penalty and vow to support Iannone's CAS appeal
First published: 01 April 2019 by Josh Close
Aprilia have responded to Andrea Iannone's 18-month FIM suspension by insisting that they will support their rider in his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
It was revealed by the FIM today (01 April) that Iannone had been found guilty and would therefore be banned from any competition between 17 December 2019 and 16 June 2021.
However, team boss Massimo Rivola has now labelled the suspension as being 'absurd' due to the fact that judges involved in the case had acknowleged that Iannone did not take Drostanolone intentionally and had recognised the argument of food contamination.
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"The sentence leaves us baffled because of the penalty levied against Andrea, but also very satisfied in its motivations," Rivola said. "The judges recognised Andrea’s complete good faith and unawareness of assuming the substance, confirming the food contamination argument. For this reason, the penalty imposed does not make any sense.
"In light of the motivations written by the judges themselves, Andrea should have been acquitted, as has always occurred to other contaminated athletes, but this situation leaves us a lot of hope for the appeal which we hope will be very quick. We want Andrea back on his Aprilia RS-GP. We will be by his side all the way to the end of this matter and we will support him in his appeal.”
Iannone and his defence team had always cited that meat contamination was the cause of the positive test results. At the International Disciplinary Court hearing on February 4, hair samples were also provided in order to showcase his innocence. The result of that hearing was upheld after a verdict was not able to be reached.
The next stage of this ongoing story will be more Iannone, and the team, to appeal the result to the CAS in Switzerland. "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," the FIM statement reads.
MotoGP: Andrea Iannone handed 18-month FIM suspension
First published: 01 April 2019 at 12:49 by Josh Close
Andrea Iannone has been given an 18-month ban by the FIM after testing positive for the steroid Drostanolone.
The Italian's future has been up in the air for several weeks, following the International Disciplinary Court case held on February 4. In the hearing, Iannone's representative provided hair samples to try and prove his innocence. Food contamination was also cited as an explanation to Iannone's positive sample in November. The drugs test in question took place following the conclusion of the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
In an official statement, the FIM state that Iannone's ban is from 17 December 2019 until 16 June 2021. The Aprilia rider has also been disqualified from the results of both the 2019 Malaysian GP and Valencia GP.
The ban means that Iannone will miss the entirety of the 2020 campaign, no matter how short it may be because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the opening few rounds of 2021. Affectively, this could spell the end his career in MotoGP, given that he did not have a contract with Aprilia for 2021. Test rider Bradley Smith would be the most likely replacement, having taken over Iannone's responsibilities during pre-season testing.
Iannone is now expected to launch an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).