Max Biaggi is the latest figure within the Aprilia organisation to question the 18-month ban handed to the factory's MotoGP star Andrea Iannone by the FIM.

A routine urine test at last November's Malaysian Grand Prix found traces of Drostanolone, a prohibited steroid, prompting the Italian to be suspended pending analysis of the B sample (which also proved positive) and then a full disciplinary hearing.

Iannone's lawyers argued that contaminated meat was the most likely source of ingestion.

Rider and team claim this explanation of accidental or involuntary consumption was accepted as true by the FIM Disciplinary Court upon giving its verdict, although the FIM is yet to make such comments public.

Biaggi - an Aprilia ambassador who won three of his 250GP titles with the factory, plus two WorldSBK crowns – told SkySport.it:

"There is the awareness that it was not intentional, however, he was punished. It seems a contradiction, not a clear thing. He was practically acquitted, but practically condemned. I don't think it will end like this; we need to clarify [the decision] maybe using the CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport]."

"Afterwards, there will be the possibility of an appeal to the CAS, both on the part of Iannone and his employer, Aprilia, if the sanction is considered too severe; or on the part of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) if it considers that the sanction is not sufficient," FIM president Jorge Viegas had explained before the verdict was known.

Biaggi fears the current sentence - which would rule Iannone out of the entire 2020 season, all of winter testing and approximately 7-8 rounds of 2021 - is a heavy blow to bear.

"For any athlete who receives such a judgment, it is not only unpleasant but demotivating, it knocks you down, takes away your desire to do everything," said Biaggi, a world championship rider from 1991 to 2012 and now a Moto3 team owner.

"An athlete lives his preparation every day, step-by-step, he tries to maintain his physical condition. This thing would knock anyone down, it is difficult to put yourself in his shoes, I hope he will be stronger than this and try to overcome it in a great way.

"We at Aprilia are close to him and we hope it will be resolved for the best."

 

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