Smith confirmed as banned Iannone’s sub at Jerez

Bradley Smith sits on Andrea Iannone’s garage seat during pre-season testing pic:

Aprilia has confirmed that test rider Bradley Smith will race in the Spanish and Andalucia Grands Prix which open the MotoGP season while Andrea Iannone is banned for doping.

The Italian is currently banned for 18 months due to consumption of a prohibited steroid, which he claims was due to eating contaminated meat while in Malaysia to race last year.

While Iannone has sought to have the sanction overturned entirely, the World Anti-Doping Agency has also appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to have the term extended to four years.

Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola has publicly backed its embattled rider but, with no resolution in the judicial matter, Smith has been selected for the two Jerez races next month, MotoGP’s official website has announced.

The Briton was the obvious choice to fill the void left by Iannone and is currently testing for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini at Misano.

For how long the Gresini Racing-run Aprilia squad fields Smith in grands prix this season is not known, with CAS having not announced a date for the appeal hearing.

The former KTM factory rider would likely only race for as long as Iannone is unavailable, given wildcards have been struck out for 2020 due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

On the other Aprilia entry, Aleix Espargaro has been re-signed for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Jerez hosts the first two rounds of the premier class season on July 17-19 and July 24-26.

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