Motorcycling has ground to a halt, Miller wrote that he seems to be in purgatory, so to continue with Dante's metaphor one could say that Iannone is instead in limbo. A place where you don't know what will happen, and meanwhile time is going by.
Andrea's story is well-known: at the Malaysian GP last November, after routine anti-doping checks, he was found positive for a banned substance, drostanolone, which falls into the category of steroids. Subsequently, the FIM decided to suspend him pending the sentence.
It was December 17th, more than three months ago and, in practice, nothing has changed since then. Iannone had asked for a counter-analysis of a second sample taken on the same occasion as the first and the results had been confirmed. All that remained to do was to appear before the FIM International Disciplinary Court, at a hearing scheduled for February 4.
On that occasion, the judges had granted prosecution and defence lawyers five days to acquire further arguments for their thesis. However, time stretched out and only in late February did the parties deposit all the documentation. The prosecution had requested a four-year disqualification for the Aprilia rider, while the defence had claimed that Iannone was the victim of food contamination.
One month has gone by and nothing has happened. A couple of weeks ago, FIM President Jorge Viegas said that the sentence would come soon, but it didn’t.
The IDC has 45 days until it issues a verdict and at this point it seems they will want to use all of them. It is within their right, but the process does not seem to have been handled properly. If the coronavirus had not brought a halt to the championship, two races (Qatar and Thailand) would have already been held without knowing anything about Iannone.
It is not for us to judge whether Andrea is guilty or not, but for such a delicate case, and also very particular for motorcycling, answers should have been forthcoming in a short time. Out of respect for the rider and also for Aprilia, a company that invests in the championship.
Instead all is quiet, and nothing is happening. At this rate, we could still have to wait a couple of weeks to hear the sentence and, should he be found guilty, he could then appeal to the CAS. Even the work of the CAS, however, has been slowed down by the coronavirus. The official website states that all hearings are postponed until after May 1st and only in special cases can they be held by videoconference.
It would mean a further lengthening of the time to put an end to an issue that could probably have been handled more quickly.
The IDC has heard the two parties, has all the necessary documentation and should therefore have all the elements to decide. It was already expected for the beginning of the month, but the postponement of the start of the championship seems to be an alibi to put everything off.
Iannone’s future remains hanging by a thread, and he has no idea of when and if this thread will break…