Iannone: They ripped my heart apart

Andrea Iannone pic: MotoGP.com

Andrea Iannone has declared that “They ripped my heart apart from my greatest love” after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) extended his ban to four years.

The Aprilia rider had been handed down an 18-month suspension by a court of motorcycling’s governing body, the FIM, having tested positive to the banned substance Drostanolone.

He sought to have the ban struck out altogether, citing consumption of contaminated meat and an alleged lack of incentive to dope, but the World Anti-Doping Agency was successful in its appeal for an extension.

Iannone is currently 31 years old and, with the ‘period of ineligibility’ applying from the time of the provisional suspension in November 2019, will be 34 by the time he is allowed to compete again.

The MotoGP race winner responded to the news on social media, writing, “Today I’ve received the worst injustice I could ever have imagined.

“They ripped my heart apart from my greatest love.

“No logical sense on these allegation(s) accompanied by incorrect facts.

“For this there will be an appropriate place and time … because I certainly do not give up.

“I knew I was facing the strong powers, but I was hoping.

“I was hoping for intellectual honesty and the affirmation of justice.

“Right now I am suffering at the highest level I could imagine.

“Whoever has tried to destroy my life will soon understand how much strength I have in my heart.

“The power of innocence and above all, a clear conscience.

“A sentence can modify the events but not the MAN.”

Aprilia has publicly stood by its rider, and maintained that stance in its own reaction to the CAS’s decision.

“Judgements must be observed and accepted, even if many elements of this decision arouse perplexities, even from a purely scientific point of view,” said Aprilia Racing’s CEO, Massimo Rivola.

“We do not regret having stood by Andrea and, to the contrary, we continue to stand by him at this time.

“This matter, with its extremely long times, has heavily damaged Aprilia Racing and our strategies for this and upcoming seasons.

“However, we must now look to the future, and it is our duty to quickly find a high-level solution that embraces the project we began with Andrea and that allows us to continue our growth, which is there and is clearly evident.”

Iannone, who took out the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix for the Ducati Team, was one year into a two-year contract with Aprilia when he was banned.

Test rider Bradley Smith subsequently filled in for every round until last weekend’s European Grand Prix at Valencia, with Lorenzo Savadori taking the Briton’s place alongside Aleix Espargaro for the remainder of the season.

That move raised speculation that Aprilia was preparing to bring Jorge Lorenzo into its ranks, with the Spaniard appearing to be on the outer at Yamaha after returning there as a test rider this year.

Spanish outlet Marca reports now that Lorenzo would only go to Aprilia as a test rider, but might still be interested in wildcard starts, and that VR46 Moto2 pilot Marco Bezzecchi is now a target to replace Iannone.

The penultimate race of the 2020 MotoGP season, which also takes place at Valencia, will be held this weekend.

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