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MotoGP's Andrea Iannone fails drug test, handed provisional racing ban

Aprilia MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone is provisionally suspended from any racing action after he fails a drug test during the Malaysian MotoGP

Andrea Iannone - Aprilia MotoGP

Aprilia MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has been provisionally suspended from competition after failing a routine drug test at the Malaysian MotoGP.

The Italian, nicknamed as ‘The Maniac’, failed for a non-specified substance under the ‘Exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids’ through a urine sample collected at Sepang.

After the test came back positive, Iannone is subsequently suspended on a provisional basis pending the result of the B sample. The ban is in effect from now meaning he cannot participate in any motorcycling competition or activity until further notice.

The next MotoGP track action is scheduled for February at Sepang when MotoGP testing gets underway

Full FIM Statement on the suspension of Andrea Iannone

“The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has advised Italian Grand Prix rider Andrea Iannone that he is provisionally suspended pursuant to Article 7.9.1 of the 2019 FIM Anti-doping Code (CAD). The decision to provisionally suspend Mr Andrea Iannone was mandatory following the receipt of a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Kreischa b. Dresden (Germany)  indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of a non-specified substance under Section 1.1.a) Exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) of the 2019 Prohibited List, in a urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test carried out by the FIM at the round of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship held in Sepang, Malaysia on 3 November 2019.

“Mr Andrea Iannone has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

“Mr Andrea Iannone is provisionally suspended with effect from 17 December 2019. He is therefore barred from participating in any motorcycling competition or activity until further notice. Under Article 7.9.3.2 CAD, Mr Iannone may request lifting of his provisional suspension.

“Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the FIM Anti-Doping Code, the FIM is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”

How serious could this be for Andrea Iannone?

It's extremely rare for a drug suspension from WADA to be directed at motorsport and there are precious few examples of racing drivers or riders being caught out for doping.

At this stage it is a provisional suspension which means Iannone must commit to a B sample that will ultimately determine whether he has undertaken systematic doping, which would carry an automatic ban of around two years depending on when it is dated to begin. Even if it doesn't, Iannone is still likely to face some tough questions from Aprilia - the brand he represents - who may not be quite so forgiving if it transpires he is at fault.

Instances of drug test fails in motorsport do happen. Anthonty West was banned for a month after testing positive for methylhexanamine in 2012 whilst he was competing in Moto2.

Among four-wheel racers, Czech Formula 3000 driver Tomas Enge lost the title because he was docked points for smoking marujana on a race weekend, while ex-F1 driver Franck Montagny was banned for two years after testign positive for taking a cocaine substitute during a Formula E race.