Ant West Receives 30-Day Ban For Doping Violations, Will Miss Valencia

Ant West looks certain to miss the final round of Moto2 at Valencia. The Australian has been found guilty of using methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant on the WADA list of banned substances which is also used by the FIM in their anti-doping code. West tested positive at the Le Mans round of MotoGP, but he has only now been heard before the FIM International Disciplinary Court. The Court found West guilty of violating the anti-doping code, banned West from the Le Mans Moto2 round (meaning that his 7th place finish will be scrapped from the results) and had a 30-day competition ban imposed, starting October 30th. The ban means West will be unable to take race at Valencia in 10 days' time. He has five days to appeal the ban.

The substance West has been banned for is methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant originally marketed as a nasal decongestant. It also has mild stimulant properties, increasing body metabolism slightly. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in some sports supplements, especially those aimed at weight loss or weight control. However, because it is used in small quantities, it is not always listed in the ingredients of those supplements, making it easy to ingest without knowing it. There are currently programs, such as those run by the NSF, to label sports supplements as being safe for elite athletes to use, without falling foul of various anti-doping regulations.

Whether West ingested the methylhexaneamine accidentally or not, the case highlights two issues in motorcycle racing. The first is that, like all elite athletes, they need to take extreme care when selecting nutritional supplements to support their training regime. The second is that the role of rider weight needs to be examined, especially in horsepower-limited classes such as Moto2. The past ten years has seen more and more riders attempting to lose a lot of weight, sometimes to the point that it verges on an eating disorder. Both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden have looked increasingly thin during their time in MotoGP, a development not aided by the capacity reduction from 990cc to 800cc. Fortunately for the Moto2 riders, at least, the prospect of a combined rider/bike weight limit is looking increasingly likely.

For a similar case involving methylhexaneamine, see this story on the website of the Toronto Star.

Below is the FIM press release announcing the ban:

FIM Anti-doping controls

Decision of the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI)

In the matter of Anthony West (AUS) - 29 October 2012

Following FIM anti-doping controls carried out during the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix meeting held in Le Mans (FRA), one of the samples was found not in accordance with the FIM Anti-Doping Code.

The sample of Australian Moto2 class rider Anthony West contained Methylhexaneamine, a substance included in ‘S.6b Specified Stimulants’ prohibited in competition, and thereby infringed Art 2.1 of the 2012 FIM Anti-Doping Code.

Following the hearing of the rider, the CDI decided to disqualify Anthony West from the French round of the 2012 FIM Moto2 World Championship, held on 20 May in Le Mans. In addition, the CDI imposes on the rider a sanction of one month’s period of ineligibility to compete in any meeting authorised or organised by the FIM or any FIM-affiliated federation or body or in any competitions authorised or organised by any international or national level meeting organisation, from 30 October 2012.

An appeal may be lodged with the International Tribunal of Appeal (TIA) within 5 day as from the notification of the decision.

Back to top


That really sucks, and seems pretty minor, but rules are rules I guess. I hope that he can vindicate himself in some way if he is deserving.

I know nothing of these things, but how on earth do you prove your innocence for something like this? Give them a list of everything you took? Seems awfully easy to fudge.

Such terrible timing.

tommy johnson got hit hard in europe a couple years ago for a med he takes to help him stay awake. it was legal with nhra in the states but not in europe. he lost the championship do to that and he told them he was taking it.

Unless we are talking Gobert-levels of amusing pharmaceuticals, here we seem to have a sport banning an over-the-counter, non-prescription, readily-available and generally legal substance that has an apparently mild stimulant effect.

The same sport is heavily sponsored by two suppliers of over-the-counter, non-prescription, readily-available and generally legal substances that advertise almost exclusively their mild stimulant effect. Riders hold up cans of said substances on the podium, wear the caps, have the logos on their leathers and bikes. These substances are known to be potential killers if used excessively by people susceptible to their effects.

Riders should certainly be protected from having to race against opponents who have ingested chemicals to the point where they'd need a step-ladder just to be able to scratch their own arse. (thank you, Kinky Friedman). However, racing opponents whose reactions are dulled by heavy sinus congestion pressure and whose vision may also be affected by the same condition (and since I get it, I can assure you it's real) also presents a not inconsiderable risk. If West was 'doped' to the level that it could be realistically said had materially enhanced his performance, then this is a fair cop. If, however, the level of the substance was consistent with simply regaining the ability to race safely and equitably, this seems to be a situation where commonsense ought to apply and the loss of points from the race concerned is surely a sufficient penalty?

I was thinking the same thing myself. The caffeine laden drinks are implicated in several cases where someone has died due to over use. In Australia it is now common practice for footballers to take stimulants to perk up and then sedatives to calm down. I imagine that Ant was either taking a supplement to help him lose weight or for other legitimate reasons. And whilst it is up to each rider to know exactly what they are taking, they don't seem to have the support or backup that other professional athletes have (most don't even get paid)

Interesting the length of the ban. You have one rider who's been directly responsible for one extremely serious accident that could have been life changing for the other rider and who has been involved in other serious incidents of various severities who receives nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a time penalty and another rider who is guilty of taking a mild stimulant receives a 30 day ban. Mis season or during the last fly away rounds that could have been 3 or 4 races. So the FIM rate dangerous riding on a much less serious scale than a minor doping offence.

"In Australia it is now common practice for footballers to take stimulants to perk up and then sedatives to calm down"

My god, what have we come to?

It's WADA that compiles the banned list, with input from sports. FIM are signed up to WADA. There are some FIM specific substances on the list, e.g. alcohol during competition. Caffeine is a tricky one, because of its prevalence. Until recently it was also specified on the WADA list, if present above a certain concentration, at one stage it was even completely prohibited in-competition! However, at the moment it is just "monitored", to gather data on its abuse (if any).

Note that the point of anti-doping controls in sport is NOT to ban every substance that might increase performance. That would be non-sensical, e.g. would you ban sugar, or beetroot? Rather, the point is to protect the health of athletes primarily, and to a lesser degree the fairness of the sport after that. Just because one stimulant is banned doesn't mean all stimulants must be banned.

Like 99% of the population, Westy probably said : Methylhexa what?

For a technical infringement.

Given that track and field athletes can face bans of up to 2 years for use of this substance, I think we need to put it in context and appreciate that the FIM is duty bound to act on such breaches, and they clearly found this at the extreme lower end of the scale.

It's an alert to other riders, too.

Shame it had to be Westy, whose career arc seems now to be on the up again.

Seems like Ant got a fair and really quite minimal penalty - there doesn't seem to be any talk of taking away his Sepang and PI podiums - however it does seem odd when they will pump a rider full of painkillers to let them race on a busted ankle, shoulder, whatever but the rules preclude a trace of a mild stimulant.

BTW to those who say this methylhexamine stuff is just a nasal decongestant: that's what is was originally produced for in the 1940s but I don't think it's been marketed that way for a long time. It is well understood to be a stimulant and useful for weight loss; also a bit of a party drug, though there's no suggestion that's how Ant came to have it in his system. It's present in sporting supplements but anyway Ant and his team should probably have been more careful. He's been fortunate in this case not to get a worse penalty.

Just ridiculous, I would understand if he had resulted positive of heroin or cocaine or some other illegal drug, but for something as trivial as that, its stupid.Any one of us can give positive, just by not paying attention.

With all that threatens Championship it's good to know they're clamping down on riders running hot laps with the sniffles.

Broken vertebrae? Get out there son! Cracked collar bone? What, are you some kind if sissy? Two broken ankles? Do you want to lose your ride? Metal pins sticking out of your skin? We'll just cut a hole in your boot.

Suppose Westy had a Spanish passport. I think we can agree this would be much ado about nothing.

What nonsense this is. I am not sure I can handle another season of this bull.

Hah - very well said!

I am starting to see a very solid pattern emerging here as well... First we see Marquez receive an official warning, "one more strike and you're out". And what do you know, one strike later... he's still in!! Well, I suppose that's his Spanish passport at work... Good for him...

You have to feel for Westy. He's a really talented rider who hasn't had a decent ride in years. Stuck on Kwakas in MotoGP, and a backmarking Moto2 bike until the recent chassis change.

He gets two podiums in a row, then this. He must be really wondering about the gods of motorcycling.

It was awesome to see him get the 2nd at PI, his fight with Marquez and Redding was superb to watch trackside. I was at the hayshed and then Lukey to watch the inches he was gaining, then taking over, lap by lap. He had really good pace.

Go Westy, put this total bull**** behind you and hopefully next year, podiums more regularly.

I totally agree with the above comments about how this is a poor deal for Westy, assuming he didnt know he took it.
His financial position and that of others is well known and if they are being expected to purchase specific approved products, or employ a dietician/personal doctor who understands the rules and what you can take, then the base salary rule should go hand in hand with this type of legislation. As said above - they ride with all sorts of effects/inhibitions from their sporting activities and this seems to be a case of using a hammer on a nut (no offence Westy!).
To knowingly ban a rider who is fighting for his chance and just seems to have made a breakthrough is brutally unfair in my view. I hope QMMF are an understanding and supportive sponsor.......

No, a cyclist wouldn't ... one month is the most typical penalty for Methylhexamine use for a fist time offence, as is being stripped of any result in the contest you tested positive for.

This sucks just about as much when Haga was penalised for using Ephedrine to loose weight before the 2000 WSBK season - costing him the championship :-(

I agree with Wazman: Ban the painkillers as well!

Methylhexanamine is as potent and as dangerous as caffeine. In small doses has no real effect. And both are dangerous in huge quantities.


Now they are making huge deal coz they use word like: Methylhexanamine.

Very smal quantitie of Methylhexanamine has the same effect as few cups of coffee.

What about: Methylsynephrine and Citrus aurantium ?

It looks like they cant even drink their Monster and Red Bull drinks.

FIM International Disciplinary Court ... WADA list is just that. The list, You have to decide what is dangerous. And in what amount. Even water is dangerous.. if you drink 50 liters in 2 hours.

What is next?

Omega 3?


The point is the substance is banned, full stop. Caffeine may also be dangerous, but isn't banned (though had been at one stage) simply cause it's too difficult to ban it, because its an accepted part of daily life across great parts of the world.

The point of WADA isn't to ban every dangerous substance or method either. It's just not practical. The point is to limit those pharmaceuticals, medical products and methods for which there simply is no compelling daily need or other reason to take them, other than, /possibly/, to increase performance. By banning the non-medical use of as many of the unnecessary medical substances and methods as possible, it allows those who do not want to have to experiment with those things to be able to compete without worry with those who otherwise might. Note that medical use is still generally allowed, when prescribed by a doctor (a loop-hole sometimes exploited) - which is how the riders get away with using pain-killers after a crash, I think.

Does that mean there's still dangerous stuff in the universe of things that aren't banned? Of course! Does the WADA list and anti-doping control do anything to prevent a rider killing themselves by drinking too much water? No. But that was never its purpose!

It was more likely the gallons of H2O thrown on to the track at Le Mans that helped Ant achieve his results there.

I think it has been indicated already that moto racers that pay for their ride and basically do it tough like a lot of them do, simply don't appear to have the professional trainers and nutrition experts that you might expect in other professional sports. That is the true rot behind the sport in my opinion, and it goes to show how tight the money situation really is.
So, if it is also true that Westy was trying to do the right thing but got caught out by a product which doesn't list the methylhexaneamine content, then he got a fair penalty, in my opinion.
I also want to point out that it isn't Dorna that applied this penalty, it was FIM, and the FIM simply have to put a punishment in place. I beleive that Marquez would have got exactly the same penalty, but I suspect he would have the aforementioned professional assistance within his team (ie: His team treats him as an asset) to help him avoid getting into these situations.

I really hope West wins his appeal because this is just ridiculous.

Why are there doping rules in motor sports anyways? People who use doping, depending on what and the quantity, hurt themselves in the long run... it's THEIR choice what they do with their lives. They're not going to hurt other riders with it!
Aggression is something that is tolerated however, and that is something that puts other peoples lives at risk. Where's the logic?

All these people that say, "Well, that's the rule...obey the law", don't they ever wonder WHY? How does the sport benefit from this rule?
Laws should be there to protect people. Don't kill, don't steal, ... makes sense, no?

Even if a rider is a party animal in the weeks, gets drunk or stoned, sorry but I don't give a rats ass about that. I just want to see fair racing as a fan. If you take this methylhexanamine, a few Red Bulls, coffees or whatever other stimulant, it's not going to make you a better rider but if you think you need it, nobody should be stopping you.

With cyclists for example it's different because doping can give you super human strength or endurance, giving an really unfair advantage over other competitors. With motorcycling, doping won't give any unfair advantage over anybody else with a normal level of fitness... so this whole anti doping list should not be employed.

You can indeed say that these lists are there to protect people from taking dangerous substances, but that's impossible as mentioned by so many others. That being said, if dangerous things should be banned... why are these people riding at all? How many have been killed by riding motorcycles? How many have been damaged for life?
Isn't it the rider who chooses what to do with his or her life?

Some of the finishes in bike racing are very close and if someone has used a drug to gain a margin over the length of a race then the guy he bea tis not going to be happy, and it qualifies as cheating just as much as if he doped the fuel or whatever in his bike.
The rider is important and as has been said by David and others there is speed in riders heads (pardon the pun) just by them thinking it helps boost them.
Drugs in sport is a huge issue and it seems we are close to cleaning up several that have been subject to extreme abuse in the past. The Armstrong affair is a good example of that, but also where other riders have had their careers spoilt by druggies (allegedly) applying pressure.
As I said above I feel for Westy, and if he made an honest mistake, then fair enough IMO, just don't do it again. With any of the banned stuff he now knows about. But if he doped himself knowingly, then he should step aside and go back to plumbing.
It's a free world, but I would rather it was free and clean.