An 18-month disqualification for Andrea Iannone, found positive for doping on 3 November at the Sepang GP, equates to a sporting ‘death penalty’, whichever way you look at it.
Even if the waiting period is subtracted, Andrea will only be able to return to racing in June 2021. And in view of the fact that his contract with Aprilia will expire at the end of this year, who would hire a rider who can neither test nor race up until that date…
Moreover, Iannone will turn 31 years of age in August, which is not a very young age, even though he is physically in good shape.
The prosecution had asked for the maximum sentence of four years, but even though some people judge this sentence – pending the motivations – to be mild, they do not understand how our sport works.
While, even in this period, an athlete can take part in the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to 2021, or in any case a stop would affect only part of the season, for a motorcycle racer it is equivalent to the end of his sporting career because not only would he miss out on one-third of the world championship, but in addition he can’t even test, and therefore take part in any development!
It is highly likely, therefore, that Iannone will appeal to the CAS; and in view the fact that Covid-19 is keeping the championship in the pits, any further wait will not cause any harm.