Suspended until 17 December 2023 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for an anti-doping violation, there currently seems little hope of seeing Andrea Iannone back in the MotoGP World Championship.

The Italian will be 34 by the time he is eligible to race again, and having missed four seasons of competition.

But in answer to a question on Instagram, the former factory Ducati, Suzuki and Aprilia rider replied: "I haven’t given up on the MotoGP. When the time comes, I'll talk about it."

Iannone was initially handed an 18-month ban by the FIM for failing an anti-doping test at the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP.

The #29 then appealed to the CAS, arguing that the source of the prohibited steroid Drostanolone was contaminated meat and the ban should therefore be overturned.

However, WADA (The World Anti-Doping Agency) also launched an appeal, seeking an extended four-year ban on the grounds that Iannone 'failed to establish... that the origin of the prohibited substance [was] meat contamination.'

The CAS ultimately sided with WADA, declaring that Iannone committed an anti-doping violation on the grounds that he 'failed to establish neither the precise type of meat he had consumed nor the origin of said meat… Nor that there was an issue of meat contamination by Drostanolone in Malaysia'.

Iannone, a MotoGP race winner for Ducati, could still have limited the ban to a maximum of two years if he had been able to persuade the CAS 'on the balance of probabilities' that the doping violation was unintentional.

However, the CAS ruled Iannone had 'not been able to provide any convincing evidence' that it was unintentional. As a result, his doping-violation was treated as intentional, meaning a full four-year ban.

Can Iannone appeal the CAS decision?

It's not clear what Iannone might have in mind, but according to the CAS website the only grounds on which it is possible to appeal against a decision is as follows:

'Judicial recourse to the Swiss Federal Tribunal is allowed on a very limited number of grounds, such as lack of jurisdiction, violation of elementary procedural rules (e.g. violation of the right to a fair hearing) or incompatibility with public policy.'

Aprilia, which had been waiting for Iannone's CAS verdict before deciding on its 2021 rider line-up, will choose between test riders Bradley Smith and Lorenzo Savadori to ride alongside Aleix Espargaro this season.

 

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