Andrea Iannone’s appeal hearing to have his FIM doping ban overturned has been set for February 4, which means he will miss the first MotoGP test of 2020.
The Aprilia rider tested positive for an anabolic steroid over the winter from a sample taken during the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, which he claims was ingested through contaminated food – though, according to experts, this is a highly unlikely scenario.
Italian media reported Iannone’s second urine sample also tested positive for the drug, though the rider has maintained his innocence.
Autosport understands Iannone will attend a hearing of the FIM’s International Disciplinary Court in Switzerland on February 4.
He has until January 31 to submit a list of people who will support his case.
With the first pre-season test of the year getting underway at Sepang on February 2 with a three-day shakedown for test riders and concession teams, Iannone will be absent – though Aprilia is yet to officialy confirm this.
Once all evidence has been heard, the court will have 45 days to decide on a verdict, though Aprilia and Iannone will likely seek for this to be reduced with the season officially beginning just over a month from the hearing date.
Depending on the verdict, Iannone could face a ban from competition of up to four years.
In Iannone’s absence from the Sepang test, Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith will likely have an expanded running programme alongside Aleix Espargaro.
Last week, Italian media reported that 13-time MotoGP race winner and brand ambassador for Aprilia Max Biaggi had been linked to an outing at the Sepang test.
However, this now looks unlikely, with World Superbike rider Lorenzo Savadori (pictured below) – whose deal with the Pedercini Kawasaki team in WSBK for 2020 looks to have fallen through due to a sponsor backing out – now set to ride a year-old RS-GP at the Sepang test to boost Aprilia’s data gathering as it gets set to debut it’s radically revised new bike.