(Reuters) – Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, the governing body FIM said on Tuesday.
It said a urine sample provided by the Aprilia rider at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Nov. 3 had shown an “adverse analytical finding of a non-specified substance under Section 1.1.a) Exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids.”
The suspension puts Iannone’s MotoGP future in doubt, with his contract with Aprilia running until the end of the 2020 season.
Iannone said in a statement https://www.instagram.com/p/B6LLkF3huuQ on Instagram that he will request an analysis of his B sample and he remains “totally relaxed” over the situation.
“I am open to any counter analysis in a matter that surprises me, also because – at the moment – I have not received any official communication,” Iannone, the winner of the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix, said.
“Over the years, and also this season, I have undergone continuous checks, obviously always proving to be negative, which is why I have every confidence in the positive conclusion of this affair.”
Iannone, who joined the team last year, has struggled to match team mate Aleix Espargaro for the majority of the 2019 season.
He finished with 43 points to Espargaro’s 63, and his best finish was sixth place at the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
Iannone’s positive test marks the first official case of a potential doping offence in the grand prix paddock since 2012, when Moto2 rider Anthony West tested positive for methylhexanamine. West had his Moto2 results over an 18-month period voided retrospectively.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis)