Provisionally suspended by the FIM after failing an anti-doping test at the Malaysian MotoGP round on November 3, Andrea Iannone's B sample is also reported to have now tested positive.

However La Gazzetta dello Sport states that the amount of the prohibited substance found, again said to be an Exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroid called drostanolone, was so small that unwitting consumption via contaminated meat in Asia is seen as a possible explanation by Iannone's lawyer Antonio De Rensis.

Since drostanolone is commonly used as a bodybuilding drug it is seen as being of little obvious benefit in the 'lean' world of MotoGP.

"The counteranalysis should attest to the presence of metabolites equal to 1,150 nanograms per millilitre, a small quantity, considering also that the rider had been in Asia for over a month and that the test, performed immediately after the GP, was relative to a urine sample very dense, equal to 1.024, due to strong dehydration after the race," Gazzetta quotes Iannone's lawyer as saying.

The scenario of unwitting consumption of trace amounts could now form a key part of Iannone's defence, as he seeks to return to the track as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, the positive B sample verdict diminishes the chances of a quick resolution. Instead, Iannone and his lawyers must now prepare to argue his case during a disciplinary hearing, after which a verdict will be issued within 45 days.

As such, even the best-case scenario suggests Iannone will miss the two pre-season tests in February and would require a lenient sentence to make the opening round in Qatar on March 6-8.

Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith is tipped as a likely replacement for Iannone should he be forced to miss any grands prix.