Andrea Iannone has been living in a limbo for more than two months, since he was notified by the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation) on December 17th that he tested positive for a prohibited substance (drostanolone) after the Sepang race. That was when the rider from Vasto was suspended from the sports world, and when his ordeal began, the end of which seems farther away each day that passes.
A cautious optimism existed a few weeks ago, but the hearing on February 4th before the International Disciplinary Court in Switzerland ended up being a cold shower. Before then, there was an inkling of hope that everything would be resolved quickly and in the best way possible, so much so that the top brass at Aprilia had asked Andrea to get on a plane to Sepang the day after the hearing.
Unfortunately, things went very differently and, with each passing day, the chances are increasing that Iannone will not even be in Qatar for the last 3 days of the winter tests that will start on Saturday. The first race will be on March 8th, once again in Losail, so there are less than 20 days remaining to solve everything.
Is that possible? It doesn't seem likely, seeing how things stand today.
The defense had focused on the test carried out on Andrea's hair sample, a very precise test that did not find any traces of drostanolone . The prosecution, however, first refused the expert witness, but then asked for time to reply to the defense, as reported by Corriere della Sera, which also specified how the FIM received from the WADA (International Anti-Doping Agency) a request to have expert and independent judges in these cases and not those chosen by the board, like they had already done.
Initially, Jan Stovicek had been given five days to reach his theory, but the prosecutor wanted more time. So, about two weeks after the hearing, they're at a stalemate. The prosecution must respond to the defense, which will then have an additional five days and, finally, the IDC will have to reach a decision.
The prosecution asked for four years of disqualification, the maximum sentence. Needless to say, such a sentence would end Iannone's career.
Of course, any verdict is still possible, as well as waiting for the TAS (the Sports Arbitration Court), but this would mean lengthening the time required to reach a final verdict.
Right now, Iannone doesn't know when and if he'll be able to return to the track. He has to wait for justice to follow its course, without taking into account that there's a career at stake.
The appeal to the TAS would mean losing more months. The last case was Valentino Rossi's who had appealed to the international court in 2015, after the Race Direction had punished him, making him start last in the race in Valencia after what had happened with Marquez. The Doctor refused the appeal because the decision would have been reached months after the end of the championship.
With the start of the championship just around the corner, Iannone risks losing months and very important races. Aprilia can only wait and endure this situation, which is unquestionably damaging at such a crucial time of the year.
Justice takes its time but, for now, there's nothing certain about this case.