WADA Appeals Iannone Doping Ban, Demands CAS Reinstate Four-Year Ban

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has finally announced that they will be hearing the appeal of Andrea Iannone against his doping ban of 18 months, imposed by the FIM International Disciplinary Court at the end of March. However, in a surprise move, the CAS also announced they will be hearing an appeal against the leniency of the ban from WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, who want the full four-year ban reinstated.

At the heart of the case is the doping test Andrea Iannone failed after the race in Sepang, in November 2019. Traces of drostanolone, a banned anabolic-androgenic steroid, used mainly for weight loss, was found in that urine sample. As a non-specified substance, drostanolone use carries an automatic four-year ban under the WADA code, which the FIM signs up to and incorporates.

At an appeal to the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI), that court reduced Iannone's ban to 18 months, after Iannone presented evidence that he had ingested the banned substance accidentally, without his knowledge, and without him being able to suspect he might have ingested it.

This is the reason Iannone believes that the ban should be lifted altogether. Not only was ingestion accidental, but Iannone claims he had taken precautions to avoid eating contaminated meat. The levels found in Iannone's sample were so low that accidental contamination is the only possible explanation, he claims.

However, this explanation is precisely why WADA is appealing against the reduction of the ban. Under WADA rules, athletes are personally responsible for everything they eat and drink, and everything entering their body. The WADA rules do not allow for accidental ingestion, and although there is a defense of "No Fault or Negligence", the standards are exceptionally high and hard to meet. WADA want the full penalty, a ban of four years, to be applied to Iannone.

The WADA has standing in this case as it wrote the rules which the FIM adopted to combat doping. In the run up to the 2016 Olympic games, WADA increased the maximum ban for doping from 2 years to 4 years. It is possible that WADA are clamping down on anything which could be seen as setting a precedent or opening a loophole in the run up to the next Olympics, to be held in Tokyo in 2021 - delayed a year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

No date has been set for the hearing, and the current list of hearings in front of the CAS extends into November. The chances of Iannone's ban being heard ahead of the start of the 2020 MotoGP season on July 19th seem very slim indeed, and there is a chance the hearing won't be heard until much later in the year.

While Iannone is still suspended pending the CAS appeal, Bradley Smith will take his place. The Englishman and Aprilia test rider is due to take part in a test at Misano on Wednesday June 10th, together with Lorenzo Savadori.

The press release from the Court of Arbitration for Sport appears below:



Lausanne, 9 June 2020 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the appeals filed by Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the decision taken by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) International Disciplinary Court decision dated 31 March 2020 (the Challenged Decision) in which Andrea Iannone was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation and an 18-month period of ineligibility was imposed on him.

Andrea Iannone seeks to have the Challenged Decision annulled, whereas WADA requests that the Challenged Decision be replaced by a new decision imposing a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider.

The procedures have been consolidated and will be referred to the same Panel of arbitrators. A procedural timetable is being established for the filing of the written submissions. No hearing date has been fixed yet.


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Iannone is toast.

A.Espargaro just signed for 2 yrs.

Vale at Aqua is happening.

Dovi will stay put and get a 2 yr deal, much less hams than he wanted. Surely Zarco has his eyes on a Ducati seat. Bagnaia and where his potential goes is an unanswered question. But Ducati doesn't need more riders now, and has a backmarker to shed. Zarco and Bagnaia are fighting for that Pramac seat, and that looks really interesting. Or is Bagnaia quietly in talks elsewhere? He has to be considered a hot commodity, but where? An Aqualternative?

So what are our last few pieces? Lots of seats/riders are yet to be signed past the 2020 EuroSprint. There is the cascading order of heirarchy. Binder is a hot item amongst all 4 of the unsigned KTM riders. Bet he stays Orange seeing a top rider spot and continuing his KTM relationship...for now. They may wish to have one experienced rider for the project. Right now, that could be Petrucci. After watching 2019's Moto2 races, Iker is looking fortunate to be in MotoGP. Conversely, KTM very fortunate to have landed Binder. (Honda could have had a 2nd Marc with that guy, their style is similar. As good a rider as Pol is, he is no threat to Marc, Pedrosa-esque at best). Oliveira stays put.

One seat at Aprilia now, either to Petrucci or a Moto2 kid. Honda, is Pol coming over? If so the overhyped matter of moving Alex over to LCR. But one more Honda seat is unsettled - is Cal having another go? He looks keen to, after the bronco bike nearly sealed his California retirement. The matter of letting a Japanese rider go from an Idemitsu bike is tricky. No tea leaves to read here. But the Honda stable looks full unless they let Nakagami go. But why would they, with The Marc on hand?

Morbidelli is likely to stay put and enjoy sharing time w Vale.

What else is not yet buttoned down? Perhaps the Gresini team after Aprilia return the garage in house. Also the Aspar team and its grid spots. Anyone have relevant information here? I just have hope, and it is for the Suzuki 2nd Team. May as well be Gresini?

At this point whether Iannone gets his way or Wada gets their way is academic. The hearing won't come until after Andrea's contract has expired, then he has to compete with all the young guns.

An ending more fitting of Iannone's character couldn't be written. All that talent pissed away in a storm of self importance and controversy. If he gets away with it lets hope there's some SBK success waiting for him, although I suspect Rea, Redding and chums would destroy him.

It would appear that the FIM are not masters of their own destiny, signing up to another organisations rules might have been seen as a formality, back slapping exercise even, until all of a sudden it isn't.