Aprilia MotoGP boss Massimo Rivola has slammed Andrea Iannone’s 18-month doping suspension as “absurd”.
Iannone’s punishment was finally handed down on Wednesday morning by the FIM’s International Judiciary Court.
“The penalty imposed does not make any sense. In light of the motivations written by the judges themselves, Andrea should have been acquitted” :: Massimo Rivola
While accepting his defence of food contamination when considering his sentence for the failed test at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the court still put in place a ban that will put him out of action until June 2021.
Former Ferrari Formula 1 boss Rivola said he could not understand why the punishment was not less severe given the court accepted Iannone’s defence, and expressed confidence about the outcome of the planned appeal.
”The sentence leaves us baffled because of the penalty levied against Andrea, but also very satisfied in its motivations,” said Rivola.
“The judges recognised Andrea’s complete good faith and unawareness of consuming the substance, confirming the food contamination argument.
“For this reason, the penalty imposed does not make any sense.
“In light of the motivations written by the judges themselves, Andrea should have been acquitted, as has always occurred to other contaminated athletes, but this situation leaves us a lot of hope for the appeal which we hope will be very quick.”
Under one of the fundamental principals of anti-doping rules, athletes are held accountable for what they put into their bodies.
With Iannone’s positive test never in doubt, the rules meant the FIM had to place some liability for the contamination onto the rider.
Aprilia has also confirmed that it will support Iannone in his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the final arbiter in proceedings.
With the coronavirus pandemic throwing the global situation into disarray, it’s uncertain when the CAS will make a ruling, but it is likely to act before the opening round of the 2020 MotoGP season – whenever that might be.
But past precedent suggests the court has been unwilling to roll back sentences in cases such as this without further mitigating circumstances, such as a sample of the contaminated food to submit for testing.