The Court of Arbitration for Sport has confirmed that it will hear two appeals next month over Aprilia MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone’s doping ban; one from the Italian racer looking to have his case overturned and another from the World Anti-Doping Agency calling for a four-year ban.
Iannone was found guilty of ingesting a banned weight-loss steroid in April and sanctioned with an eighteen-month ban that would have meant he missed the entire 2020 season and half of 2021.
Upon the decision by the FIM International Disciplinary Court, he immediately announced that he would be appealing to the CAS.
Iannone claimed that he accidentally consumed the steroid drostanolone from eating contaminated food after his failed test at the Malaysian Grand Prix in November, and the FIM court accepted it as mitigating circumstances when sentencing him.
However, in a bombshell blow to his case, it was announced on Tuesday that the World Anti-Doping Agency has also lodged an appeal against his sentence.
It marks an unusual step only taken when WADA believes that a sanctioning body has been too lenient, and it is appealing for Iannone to receive the full four-year ban originally imposed before his International Disciplinary Court hearing.
A date has yet to be set for the hearing, but given that the 2020 MotoGP season is set to get underway on July 19 at Jerez, it seems likely that the CAS will hear his case sometime in the next month.
A four-year ban would certainly end the Italian’s career as a top-level motorcycle racer.
Iannone is now 30 years old and if he is ineligible to race again until he turns 34, it’s almost impossible to imagine a route back to MotoGP or even World Superbikes for him should he be forced to spend four years off a bike.
It’s likely that Aprilia will now sign up test rider Bradley Smith to replace Iannone when the season finally gets underway next month.