Max Biaggi could make a surprise return to MotoGP action at the forthcoming Sepang test.

With Andrea Iannone currently suspended by the FIM for failing an anti-doping test at the same Malaysian venue last November, Aprilia needs a replacement to step-in alongside Aleix Espargaro and test rider Bradley Smith for the planned debut of the new RS-GP.

Aprilia has confirmed to Crash.net that Biaggi, who won four 250cc titles and 13 500cc/MotoGP races before finishing his career with a pair of World Superbike crowns, is one of three riders in the mix.

The other candidates for the testing role are ex-Avintia Ducati MotoGP rider Karel Abraham and former factory Aprilia WorldSBK rider and occasional MotoGP tester Lorenzo Savadori.

"The choice will be one of those three. We'll decide the plan soon," an Aprilia spokesman told Crash.net.

Of the three riders, Savadori - who raced in the inaugural MotoE series last year and is due to return to WorldSBK this season - appears to be the current favourite.

With Iannone's B sample also reported to have tested positive for an Exogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroid, thought to be drostanolone, preparations are now underway for a disciplinary hearing.

Iannone's legal team believe the 'small quantity' of the steroid found in his urine may have unwittingly consumed by eating contaminated meat while in Asia.

Either way, it now seems unlikely that the Italian will be able to take part in any pre-season tests while at least part of his 2020 racing season is also in doubt.

Smith is being tipped to take Iannone's place should last year's Phillip Island race leader be barred from competition, but that would still mean a new Aprilia test rider would be needed to take on the Englishman's workload.

Biaggi, 48, now runs his own Moto3 team but recently rode the new Aprilia RSV-X superbike at Sepang during a PR event for the factory. The Malaysian venue was also the scene of his final WorldSBK appearance, and podium, during a special wild-card entry in 2015.

Should Biaggi ride at next month's pair of MotoGP tests (shakedown and official) he would also join Valentino Rossi on track some 20-years after they first raced together in the 2000 500cc world championship.

 

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