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MotoGP, Ippolito, his defence: doping? Crutchlow's comments help us

The FIM president: "Cal is right, the anti-doping controls should be increased but we need to eliminate some resistance within our sport"

MotoGP: Ippolito, his defence: doping? Crutchlow's comments help us


Crutchlow's comments on doping in the motorcycling world, which you can read HEREfailed to raise any real reaction, despite websites publishing his words left, right and centre.

The usual 'online journalism' where information is shared without anything concrete being added.
And yet all that was needed, in this case, was a phone call.

“Objectively, we in the motorcycling world, don't have the problems of others sports, like cycling or athletics, when it comes to drug use - explains Vito Ippolito, Presidente FIM, who we spoke to by phone - but equally we have signed an agreement with the WADA. Our anti-doping policy is clear, we are for clean sport, and so comments like Cal's help us, rather than annoy us”.

But motorcycle checks are less rigorous than those in the cycling world for example?

“It's true. Cal knows them well because he's friends with a champion cyclist, Mark Cavendish. But we too use ADAMS, it's just we use a sampling method rather than forcing all riders to be continuously available. This is because, as I said before, in our sport, the cases of a positive result to banned substances are rare. If you ask me - but why just a sample and not everyone, what changes? The answer is simple: it comes down to cost. The FIM pays to have these controls, it's one thing to do random checks, another to develop a complete system. In cycling, of course, controls must be carried out across the board. But Crutchlow is right: we should increase controls. The problem is that within our sport there is some... resistance”.

Are you referring to the riders?

No, far from it. In fact, many of them, and I cite Marc Marquez as an example, have stated that they are willing to be available for continuous controls. I understand it - they want to prove that their performance is clean”.

If we remember correctly, the FIM has recently identified and punished champions under the influence of banned substances.

“There was the case of MX rider James Stewart, in Supercross: he lost his appeal too, spending a lot of money on lawyers. His case regarded the use of amphetamines and he was banned for 16 months, which is the penalty foreseen by WADA, whether the sport is cycling or motorcycling”.

In that case, the rider had apparently taken Adderall, a drug considered a ‘cover-up’. Crutchlow is asking for controls to extend to those drugs that are apparently innocuous but that assist with physical recovery or weight loss.

“We are moving in that direction. Everyone has to realise that the world has changed and we need to adapt but, as I said, there is resistance, for example, in the world of management. There are those who worry the riders will be overly ‘disturbed’. Take alcohol for example, I have been to at least four WADA meetings on this subject. This body foresees a four-year sanction for a positive alcohol test, when alcohol isn't a stimulant, despite being identified as a narcotic from a pharmaceutical standpoint. So in some sports it can be used to reduce stress. in ours it's simply dangerous. For this reason, I managed to get WADA to reduce the penalty to 9 months thanks to a specific motorcycle regulation. As of the Thursday evening prior to a race, during the so-called ‘in competition’ period, riders are not allowed to drink. You won't believe it but I had to fight a real internal battle against managers who were worried that the FIM would carry out checks, maybe at midnight on Saturday, waking the riders up. Unfounded worries, because if you drink two beers at nine in the evening, you're clean in the morning but as WADA rightly asked me: is it possible that in your sport there are those who can't not drink for three days in a row? It's hard to say they're wrong isn't it?”.

Cal Crutchlow's outright accusation remains: anyone who thinks there are not those using banned substances is stupid.

“In an ideal world we should check all our athletes, starting from the lower classes, like Moto3. Right now though, we are working to extend them to the pinnacle of our sport, MotoGP, so that we set youngsters a clear example: they don't need to take short cuts, which would destroy our sport, once in the top class they can be systematically checked”.


Translated by Heather Watson

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