MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has been handed an 18-month ban for an anti-doping infringement, although investigators conclude he did not purposefully take steroids.
The Italian tested positive for an anabolic steroid during a routine WADA drugs test at the Malaysian Grand Prix last year. His follow-up sample also tested positive.
Iannone has since maintained his innocence, claiming the positive test was a result of food contamination.
An FIM disciplinary hearing found that while Iannone did eat contaminated meat, he could not be fully acquitted. As a result, he will serve a ban of 18 months, from 17 December 2019 to 16 June 2021.
Iannone will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A date is yet to be announced.
The decision also casts doubt over the relationship between Iannone and Aprilia. CEO Massimo Rivola stated earlier that a lengthy ban would likely result in the termination of Iannone’s contract.
However, with the current situation surrounding the effect of COVID-19 on the MotoGP schedule, Iannone could be thrown a lifeline should his appeal be successful.
Aprilia are expected to release a statement regarding the situation shortly.