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Andrea Iannone Appeal Results in Four-Year Ban

Andrea Iannone will not be permitted to swing a leg over a MotoGP bike until December of 2023. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on his appeal.

An illegal substance was found in Iannone’s blood, which he attributed to innocent ingestion of tainted meat. This ruling is a complete disaster for Iannone, who had originally been suspended by the FIM for 18 months … a suspension that would have expired on June 16, 2021.

Aprilia now needs a second rider to join Aleix Espargaro next year. Rumored candidates include Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith and Jorge Lorenzo.

CAS issued the following analysis of its ruling:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced its decision in the appeal arbitration procedures between the Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

Andrea Iannone and WADA filed separate appeals at CAS against the decision rendered by the FIM International Disciplinary Court dated 31 March 2020 in which Andrea Iannone was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) (presence of Drostanolone, a anabolic steroid featured on the 2019 WADA Prohibited List) and an 18-month period of ineligibility was imposed on him.

The CAS Panel rejected the appeal filed by Andrea Iannone and upheld the appeal filed by WADA. As a consequence, the decision rendered by the FIM International Disciplinary Court has been set aside and replaced with the following new decision:

• Andrea Iannone is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of four years commencing on 17 December 2019.

• All competitive results obtained by Andrea Iannone from and including 1 November 2019 through the commencement of his suspension are disqualified, with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

On 3 November 2019, on the occasion of the FIM World Championship MotoGP in Sepang/Malaysia, Mr. Iannone underwent an in-competition doping control which revealed the presence of Drostanolone. Further to an internal disciplinary procedure, the FIM International Disciplinary Court decided on 31 March 2020 that Mr. Iannone should be suspended from participating in any motorcycling competition or activity during 18 months as of 17 December 2019.

Andrea Iannone asserted that the source of the prohibited substance was contaminated meat that he had ingested in Malaysia prior to the 2019 Sepang FIM World Championship MotoGP and that accordingly, he should be fully acquitted and that the Challenged Decision should be annulled.

WADA, on the other hand, sought the imposition of a four-year period of ineligibility on the grounds that Andrea Iannone had failed to establish to the requisite standard that the origin of the prohibited substance in his sample resulted from meat contamination, and that as a consequence, the imposition of a four-year period of ineligibility was the appropriate sanction.

The CAS Panel found that Andrea Iannone had failed to establish neither the precise type of meat he had consumed nor the origin of said meat. Moreover, the Panel found that neither Andrea Iannone nor his experts were able to establish specifically that there was an issue of meat contamination by Drostanolone in Malaysia. The Panel considered therefore that an ADRV has been committed.

Andrea Iannone essentially left the Panel with protestations of innocence, his clean record and his alleged lack of incentive to dope. Factors which were insufficient to establish, on a balance of probability that Andrea Iannone’s ADRV was not intentional (in case of an unintentional ADRV, the applicable period of ineligibility would have been of two years maximum).

Since it is for an athlete to establish on the balance of probabilities that an ADRV is not intentional, his inability to do so means that he is deemed to have committed an intentional ADRV, pursuant to the applicable anti-doping rules.

The Panel’s conclusion does not of itself rule out the possibility that Andrea Iannone’s ADRV may be the result of consumption of meat contaminated by Drostanolone but means that Andrea Iannone has not been able to provide any convincing evidence to establish that the ADRV he committed was unintentional.

Accordingly, the Panel found, contrary to the Appealed Decision, that the ADRV committed by Andrea Iannone was to be treated as intentional for purposes of the applicable anti-doping rules, and therefore upheld WADA’s Appeal.

The CAS award sets aside the decision rendered by the FIM International Disciplinary Court dated 31 March 2020 and imposes a four-year period of ineligibility on Andrea Iannone.

24 Comments

  1. LBJ650 says:

    I get it that some may not think it’s fair for Iannone. But the rules are there for all and he should have been aware of the consequences. This is for the good of the competition and protects the other riders from cheaters.

  2. TODD A says:

    That is absolutely ridiculous. The morons that hand out these penalties would be wiser if they knew WTF they were talking about in terms of performance enhancement. Drostanolone (aka Masteron) doesn’t do jack shit in terms of improving measurable athletic performance. They just destroyed this guys career. Just like the FIM did to James Stewart with Adderall. (Which does more to SLOW down function than enhance performance)
    I simply cannot believe how ridiculous they are.

  3. Ricardo says:

    Fours years suspension? that is a career destroying penalty which is not seen in other sports. I think the punishment does not fit the crime in this case and is way to harsh for Iannone.

    • Dave says:

      4 year bans are given in cycling by the same authorities, but almost never for 1st offenses. An extreme exception being Lance Armstrong who was banned for life on his 1st conviction.

  4. DucDynasty says:

    I’m stupid when it comes to drugs. How would that drug help a rider?

    • Dave says:

      Most non bulking performance enhancers used in endurance sports benefit athletes by helping them with recovery from training efforts. Absorb more training & be fresher + stronger on race day.

  5. Grover says:

    Reminds of when I was a kid and caught with cigarettes you tell your parents, “I’m holding them for a friend “. Good luck with the tainted meat story.

  6. Tom R says:

    Wow, pretty harsh. This Cancel Culture thing is really spreading.

  7. Paul says:

    What what? You appeal and the sentence gets worse? I’m no fan but this is clearly punitive.

  8. Mick says:

    Am I missing something? I looked up Drostanolone. It doesn’t look like anything that a top level athlete would use. Nor does it look like anything that would be contaminating meat.

    People are weird.

    • TimC says:

      See my comment below. ‘Roid sites talk about it and it sounds like what a racer would want as it doesn’t encourage bulking…yes I learned that apparently people really do do this stuff….

  9. Curly says:

    Seems to me that time served would have been a more appropriate sentence. His career is over if it stands.

  10. Paige says:

    Damn tainted meat, damn rules, damn Lance Armstrong!

  11. TimC says:

    Interesting. Sounds like the right steroid for racers:

    “Bulking may be a goal too but Drostanolone Enanthate is among the worst of anabolic steroids for that goal. It doesn’t give you the growth you need in that regard and you will be disappointed. The only way to get growth is with an extremely high dose but you can get that growth with other steroids. Adding it to a stack though to help with reducing estrogenic effects isn’t a bad idea.”

    Also:

    “It is only available from underground resources as it created with the use of Masteron, which has been discontinued.”

    Doesn’t seem like something that would randomly show up in meat, even in Malaysia.

    https://x-steroids.com/featured/drostanolone-enanthate/

    I initially thought (and commented) that this is draconian – but after this research, I recall a bicycle racer at one of my old jobs that had a t-shirt that simply said “DOPERS WIN”….

  12. TimC says:

    WOW – “Mess with the bull, you get the horns.”

  13. VLJ says:

    Draconian penalty, to the Nth degree. In no way does this penalty remotely fit the crime. Absolutely absurd. No other sport imposes a lifetime ban for what amounts to trace amounts in a first-time offender.

    Make no mistake, for a thirty-one-year-old MotoGP rider, four years is a lifetime ban.

    Looks like #99 found himself a new ride, thus completing his career circle back on an Aprilia. I suggest Fat, Slow Jorge become Fit, Motivated Jorge right quick. Riding the RS-GP, he’s going to need every last ounce of speed he can squeeze from that lemon.

    • fred says:

      It does seem like Crazy Joe was being punished for appealing the first decision. I’ve not been a fan for years, but this doesn’t seem quite right. MotoGP seems to be making a lot of arbitrary decisions lately.

      Do you have anything official re: Lorenzo’s status for next year. I’ve seen a rumor or two about an Aprilia test ride. Is that what you are saying, or did you hear he got a race seat?

      I suspect that “Fat, Slow” Jorge could easily out-ride all of us posting here.

      • mickey says:

        This was not motogp’s decision this was the court of sports decision in Sweden I think, and in line with recommendation by council against doping which recommends 4 years for any sportsman in any sport convicted of doping.

        Just read Dovi decided to take a year sabbatical, and race motocross in Italy.

        Also just read Moto 2 rider Bezecchi is going to get the Aprlia seat. Jorge may get test rider role with Apilia.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          It’s not MotoGP. All sports are doubling, tripling, quadrupling down on doping enforcement these days.

          It’s to the point where an ambitious athlete really ought to only eat foods, and even use cosmetics, specifically cleared, by trustworthy doctors up on the latest lists of banned substances, of every minute trace of some bizarre substance. Most substances of whom aren’t even in and of themselves presumed to be “performance enhancing”, but just as often are thought to help camouflage actual performance enhancers.

          The way the rules are currently enforced, it would have been almost trivial for some Sicilian to have mixed some stuff in Iannone’s dinner. You can’t just go arond eating local meat without cutting off a part and sending it to a lab for analysis….. And heck even if you did send it to a lab, you’d still get two years prohibition, even if you could prove it was unintentional….

  14. mickey says:

    Geez not good for Iannone’s racing future.

    Hey Dovi and Lorenzo. A certain Italian mfg has a seat open in Moto GP. Interested?

    My guess is Aprilia will grab a hot Moto 2 or 3 guy.

    • Dave says:

      My first thought was, “I guess Dovi will be getting a call”. Thinking more about it, I think you’re right about bringing up a Moto2 rider. Even if they can pay the salary for Dovi, it’s not a good look if you put a championship contender on your bike and it doesn’t win. They are gradually moving in the right direction, but they’re not ready yet.

      • mickey says:

        Now I’m reading that WSBK Chaz Davies may be getting Iannones Aprilia ride

        • Dave says:

          That’d be a feel-good landing, given that Ducati sent him away despite being one of their best riders in WSBK (and winning the last round).

          Dovi has announced that he’s not signing with anyone next year and won’t until there is a project that “aligns with his ambitions”. Given the way he rode in the 2nd half of this season (maybe Ducati’s fault, who knows..), his age and his likely salary demands, I think he’s probably done.

  15. motomike says:

    Another great racing decision by “crazy joe”.

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