MotoGP

Max Biaggi slams ‘practically acquitted’ Andrea Iannone’s drugs ban

Max Biaggi throws his weight of support behind Andrea Iannone calling his 18-months drugs ban 'contradictory' to the outcome of the case

Double World Champion Max Biaggi has thrown his support behind Andrea Iannone, claiming he has been punished unfairly considering he was ‘practically acquitted’ of intentional wrongdoing.

Iannone was banned from competition for 18-months as a result of testing positive for the banned steroid drostanolone in October having made the case he ingested the substance unknowingly via contaminated meat during the Malaysian MotoGP round.

Though Iannone, Aprilia and now Biaggi all claim there was a general acceptance the Italian did not intentionally consume the steroid, the FIM still levied a fairly lengthy ban that throws his career in serious doubt.

As it stands, a ban of this duration would rule Iannone out of the 2020 MotoGP season, whenever it gets underway, and the first half of 2021. His current contract with Aprilia comes to an end this year but the manufacturer has vowed to support him.

The ruling has drawn criticism from some quarters, who claim Iannone should not have been made an example of in a sport where drugs suspensions are fairly rare. Moreover, Biaggi, who won two WorldSBK titles with Aprilia, feels the ban is contradictory to the outcome of the case.

“There is the awareness that it was not intentional, however, he was punished,” he told SkySports.it. “It seems a contradiction, not a clear thing. He was practically acquitted, but practically condemned. I don't think it will end like this; we need to clarify [the decision] maybe using the CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport]."

Though Biaggi has urged Iannone – who has intimated he will appeal - to pick himself up and remain focused on the end goal, he admits the length of the ruling will make it difficult for any rider to remain motivated.

"For any athlete who receives such a judgment, it is not only unpleasant but demotivating, it knocks you down, takes away your desire to do everything," 

"An athlete lives his preparation every day, step-by-step, he tries to maintain his physical condition. This thing would knock anyone down, it is difficult to put yourself in his shoes, I hope he will be stronger than this and try to overcome it in a great way.

"We at Aprilia are close to him and we hope it will be resolved for the best."

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