Andrea Iannone has finally got a firm date for his doping appeal in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport – but after a request from the World Anti-Doping Association, the hearing has been delayed from some time in August until 15th October.
Iannone was originally found guilty of taking performance-enhancing steroids in March by the Federation International de Motocyclisme’s own internal court structure and sentenced to an 18-month ban.
Claiming that he failed the test after accidentally eating meat contaminated with the drug drostanolone, he appealed his sentence to the CAS, the highest-level adjudicating body in international sport.
However, WADA also brought an appeal of its own at this time, believing the FIM’s year and a half suspension to be too lenient and targeting the maximum four-year ban.
The delay has yet more repercussions for Aprilia’s MotoGP project.
It has stuck by Iannone since he first failed the test, and team boss Massimo Rivola has again stated that Aprilia will continue to wait until the final verdict is rendered before deciding on Iannone’s future.
Should that now happen, as seems likely, some time in October, it could potentially leave Aprilia unable to find a suitable replacement should he be unable to compete for it in 2021.
With most of the top names in the paddock already signed up, Aprilia’s believed to be closest to working out a deal with outgoing Honda rider Cal Crutchlow – and Aprilia’s saving grace could be that Crutchlow’s only other realistic option right now looks like retirement, giving him the freedom to wait to see what happens with Iannone.
Aleix Espargaro has already extended his deal to ride Aprilia’s other works bike.