Andrea Iannone Provisionally Suspended For Steroid Use

Andrea Iannone has been provisionally suspended from all racing activity for violating the FIM's antidoping code. A urine sample taken from Iannone at the Malaysian round of MotoGP at Sepang was found to contain traces of anabolic steroids. Once the findings of the sample, analyzed by a WADA-accredited laboratory, were reported, Iannone was handed a provisional suspension in line with the FIM antidoping code.

Iannone can appeal the result, and request that the B sample (the second sample taken at the same time) is analyzed. He can also appeal to the CDI (International Disciplinary Court) for his suspension to be lifted, but to do that, he would have to be able to provide evidence that the samples he provided had been contaminated in some way, or that he had taken the banned substances accidentally (something which is very difficult for anabolic steroids).

If Iannone does not appeal the result, or analysis of the second sample confirms the findings of the first, then Iannone faces an automatic four-year ban. Anabolic androgenic steroids are so-called non-specified substances, which means that it is almost impossible for them to enter the body accidentally or without knowledge of the person using them.

This is where Iannone's suspected offense is different to previous doping offenders, such as Ant West. West was found to have used so-called specified substances, which can be taken inadvertently, as West claimed, by using a supplement which did not label the ingredients clearly. Anabolic steroids are used to build muscle mass and burn fat, as well as to reduce inflammation in some cases. They are very hard to take by accident.

A four-year ban would automatically end Iannone's career. A number of rider and team managers had identified Iannone as one of the riders likely to leave MotoGP at the end of 2020, but he had also been expected to head to WorldSBK, where he would have been a very welcome addition. A four-year ban would make that impossible. 

Iannone's suspension and possible ban leaves Aprilia in a quandary. The most obvious solution to any ban would be to promote Bradley Smith from his role as test rider. Smith has been pivotal in helping develop the Aprilia RS-GP, and providing input for the new bike to be launched at the Sepang test in February next year.

The press release announcing Iannone's suspension appears below:

FIM Antidoping
FIM Grand Prix World Championship

Rider Andrea Iannone provisionally suspended

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 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.


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...are normally used to treat inflammation, not seen anabolics been used for these before.

Irony of this is that Iannone would not have been hitting the juice to make him better at MotoGP--he'd be doing it so he gets more muscle mass for the insta. Anabolics would not be a good choice for MotoGP most likely.

That list has everything from Tren to $59.99 a bottle OTC stuff.  Interpreting an intention is always speculative, but its even harder because the list is so broad.  ConradHughes makes a good point as well - anabolics would seem to be exact opposite way for motorcycle racing.  Even the cutters like can pack on pounds of muscle.  Methylated compounds retain water and some others cause back spasms.  If he were trying lose weight, it would make more sense if he tested positive for a diruteic or a stimulant, a la Haga-san in '99.

Also, all this stuff will turn your grapes into raisins; given Ianonne's reputation, I can't imagine that he'd be OK with that.

Sure it's a wide range - but other racers are subjected to the same tests and haven't failed.  If we learned anything from the Lance Armstrong debacle, it's that the athletes will lie until they're basically caught red-handed.  I don't think anyone would be surprised to learn AI was doping.  His character has been called into question a number of times, and this would likely seem a fitting end to his career.  I love racing.  I love racers.  Even for all their faults.  It's what makes them unique in this world.  Bummed if he goes out like this, but surely he should have known better.


He should've known better, but the FIM isn't infallible.  Both Nori and Ant West's version of events read quite a bit different than the official line.  Its very hard for me to believe that a world-class athlete knowingly and intentionally took a performance-enhancing substance that offers no performance enhancement.  There's nothing to be gained here, and the press release is so vague that anything can be inserted. 

Impugning his character is hardly proof of wrongdoing, and neither is a casual association with Lance Armstrong.

Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't there been a couple of drivers racing stock cars in the US who've been picked up the past year for this but weren't intentionally doping , more that they didn't read the warnings on the packet of various over the counter dietary supliments . Sloppy and no excuse of course but let's wait to throw stones until we have all the facts available to us .

The shoe fits.

Don't forget that Ant West, whom I respect, re-offended and lost his ride. I had looked forward to seeing Iannone in WSBK. He could be very funny, the condom comment was a hoot. When he got on the Pramac Duc he displayed Alien-esque talent potential. I remember well a double pass towards the pointy end of a 3 way with our best riders 2014 methinks, at which pointing and saying out loud that a new great was emerging. Then he soon battled with and slowed faster-paced team mate Dovi rather than tuck in behind and get a tow for a conjoint finish and possible late race pass. Took him out another time. Inconsistent performance based on childish self involved petulance.

At Suzuki and Aprilia, upon putting a leg over the bike he immediately took it to 10 10ths and found its limit. Impressive first outing. Aprilia heard him then inform them of what he expected from their bike as a rider if his stature, upon which he was mostly a rear pack rider. He was distracted by his own narrative about himself, which has been his tiresome bailiwick. Then cosmetic surgery led to missing some testing time. Backmarking. A.Espargaro FAR outperforming him.

Then, right around a late stage "time to put me in the shop window" boost in performance is to take place to wrap up the season, a performance booster is in his whiz quiz.


The poor guy couldn't get out of his own way. The egg of narcissism has a decreasing chance of being broken from the inside in the interest of growth for more spaceousness as we age. It can however be broken from the outside after early adulthood, but is increasingly rough.

This will be more fat drugged Elvis than Paul if you ask me. His money will last a while, and a string of girlfriends will enjoy the ride. He will appear to thrive for a short while as he is able to construct a life circumstance that confirms his narrative. (Superficially) "supporting young rider("s")," "launching my own clothing line" (selling some shirts for 2 yrs), a new shiny hobby (racing power boats w no shirt?), being in Milan when famous people are around, whatnot.

Note that people attacking Zarcos or Caseys via limited perspectives, then enabling Iannones or Fenatis with dog-eat-dog naratives...they are touching on antisocial violation, narcissism's overtly uglier counterpart. Then comes that other manipulative and dramaticized/personalized shite. Best to ignore.

Sad, as he had the talent. Smith gets another go now, and Aprilia needs a Test rider. Not expecting much. Christmas in June such that the shiny balls are out year round, the 2021 silly season is already on? Interesting era.

Wouldn't these increase his muscle mass and thereby weight? Pretty sure he wasn't taking those to cut weight as there is better chemistry available to do that. 

It's easier for a training regime to build muscle mass then cut weight as opposed to cutting weight then building muscle. With Malaysia last round but one maybe he was already focused on building himself back up during the off season. The time available to address injuries and build strength before testing rolls around forcing them to lean out again is so short every day must be valuable.


But taking steroids (if true) is beyond dumb. Maybe he'll pull a Ben Johnson and try to claim his unethical doctor was secretly injecting him with things.

It's sad to hear of things like this. We don't know much and I'm sure more detail will come in the coming months.

On a different note, and perhaps this might sound crass of me but I honestly hope they don't sign Bradly for next season. Not that I have anything against Bradly personally but he's just not fast enough for MotoGP in my opinion. He's an excellent rider and I think he's a valuable resource to Aprilia's testing program. But, given that they already have Aleix as an excellent veteran rider and having seen how well Iker Lacuona has taken to the KTM I think Aprilia would be much better served by a fast young rider that can push the bike in a more contemporary riding style.

Of course, their hands might be tied with basically all the contracts buttoned up for next year.

I'm seeing a few misconceptions about steroids. I've been around this stuff since the 80's and have pretty extensive practical knowledge.

"Irony of this is that Iannone would not have been hitting the juice to make him better at MotoGP--he'd be doing it so he gets more muscle mass for the insta."

Steroids don't magically put on muscle. You have to work the muscle out to see any gains. If you take steroids and just sit on the couch, you won't gain significant muscle mass. High doses of trenbolone might be the exception.

"Wouldn't these increase his muscle mass and thereby weight? Pretty sure he wasn't taking those to cut weight as there is better chemistry available to do that."

Steroids can be an extremely useful drug while losing weight. Their main benefit in that scenario is to preserve muscle and help ensure that the weight loss is from fat, rather than muscle. You'll sometimes hear bodybuilders refer to a "cutting cycle". This is when steroids are used to promote muscle preservation while losing fat on a calorie restricted diet.

"Also, all this stuff will turn your grapes into raisins;"

Not necessarily. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is commonly used to prevent this.

"took a performance-enhancing substance that offers no performance enhancement."

"anabolics would seem to be exact opposite way for motorcycle racing."

 It might be that he was taking them just for vanity, but at the elite level of almost any sport, steroids can be used to attain an advantage. This leads me to believe he was using them for the purpose of increasing his performance on the motorcycle. I would imagine it takes a good deal of strength to ride the Ducati. If he took a drug that would allow him to be as light as possible but still as strong, or stronger, than a heavier person, that would be a non-trivial advantage.

Just to make it clear, my point was that fitness Instagram is pretty much ruled by people on steroids. Andrea already works out (albeit badly) and the steroids are more likely a recommendation from a trainer or entourage with a view to getting bigger traps or bigger pecs than some kind of 4D chess for gaining strength beyond the capability of his current mass.

More misconceptions.  If he was doing TRT, and was only boosting testerone to say equal a 21 year old, no it's not going to shrink the jewels or any of the other nonsense that is incorrect above.  Mild use is far from abuse.  I have never taken it but I know people at the gym that do.  They aren't meat heads either.  Just 50 year olds trying to keep lifting, building lean muscle mass, and wanting their junk to work like yesteryear.  TRT is a whole lot different than what professional bodybuilders do.  Pros will go 400% on it.  

I may be wrong but can't steroids also help in regards to injury recovery? I am almost certain I heard this in a podcast about older athletes using them to recuperate faster from injuries.

If I remember correctly, Andrea has injured both of his shoulders and has forgone surgery due to the recovery time. I think that was at the end of 2015 that it was mentioned here. 

Yes it can help, tremendously.  

I had shoulder surgery in June.  No I didn't use steroids or anything during recovery.  It's a long process.  Surgery requires anchors in the shoulder.  In a sling/harness for 4-8 weeks.  Once out of the sling, PT.  It can be up to a year for recovery and that's with hardcore training, PT, etc.  I'm extremely fit, eat like a nutritionist, and outside of work and am an athlete.  I've pushed as hard as I can on PT, started lifting/exercising immediately after the sling, beat all estimates to recovery and it was still 5 months before I could get back on my motorcycles and start riding.  Mine were labrum tears, BANKART on right shoulder, SLAP on left.  My ortho injected both with stem cells prior to surgery.  Doing well but it's a long road.  Rotator cuff damage is even worse if he has that also.  Out of the three joints, shoulder, hip, knees, shoulder recovery is the worst.  Maybe Andrea took the risk as proper surgery/recovery, could take him completely out of the sport depending on the extent of damage.  You don't do surgery on both shoulders at the same time.  You have to do one at a time.  If stem cells don't repair my left shoulder I'm looking at starting the process all over again next year.  Andrew Luck in the NFL just dealt with this and retired because of it.  The intense Physical Therapy, the surgery, all of it, is a real pain and will test your mental fortitude.  It has been an exhausing year.  Work, lift/train/exercise, then use the TENS machine, then ice, like every day of the week.  It's a nightmare and I could see why a professional athlete would postpone surgery.  Pre surgery you just don't know.  Post surgery, even if the surgery was perfect, you did your PT like a champion, and perfect, there are risks the shoulder will never be the same again.  Add in that both shoulders are damaged, and you can see the dominoes.  

Ben Spies, is that you BrickTopping?

Much more interested btw in our JL99 Yamaha Test gig, Iannone was done here. Will miss him in WSBK though.

"I am open to any counter-analysis" = he knows he is guilty.

There is no such thing. There is a 2nd sample.

"Could be from ingesting meat raised with hormones" says sports nutritionist that is paid to consult for MotoGP riders?
How much ham do you have to eat? How many hams do you have to pay to get that expert witness?
"...and 29 poppyseed bagels per day, sir, so that heroin thing is also false. These vials here? I think they fell out of a truck or something. Scott Redding was here yesterday consulting on our tire pressures. Maybe ask the Michelin guys?"

Where is A.Gobert these days, btw?

Anthony "the Go show" Gobert is not doing that well. Still living on the gold coast AFAIK.

Apparently Anthony was bashed rather badly six months ago. I haven't heard much.

There was an article in

Very sad life for a rider with so much talent.

Merry Christmas, I'm off to New Zealand where the roadracing continues.


The Italian dream team turns into a nightmare again.

Any bets on how the results of the test of the B sample turn out next week?

I used to find Andrea Iannone's riding in Moto2 and on the Ducati & Suzuki exciting. His tail happy antics, backing it in and sliding around were fun to watch.

Slacking off at Catalunya until Sylvain Guintoli caught & passed him. Then picking up the pace again was one of his low points.

I had hoped the opportunity given to A.I.29 at Aprilia would inspire the guy to get his act together. Sadly it did not. Burnt that bridge as well.

It will be a loss for the sport if he goes out for a drug transgression. A colorful character with some flaws and a lot of talent.

He's fooked.
Betcha 970 kilos of hormone tainted meats, West's energy drinks, an Illmore and a bottle of Amerone.
(Come on, it is as obvious as the cosmetically enhanced nose on your face).
"Sample B: his bladder's sequel" = same

I am no expert but after a quick look through the FIM rules, thanks for the link David, it seems the options are; two years ban, four years or a lifetime exclusion from competition.

Massimo Rivola is quoted in Visordown as saying A.I.29 might get 3 months or 6 months. I assume he knows a lot more about it than I do.

Looks bad for Andrea Iannone.

Any news? Or information from someone with more knowledge & experience in this area would be welcomed.