- Andrea Iannone [Copyright: MotoGP]

Espargaro retained by Aprilia, Iannone appeals as WADA asks longer punishment

While one rider re-signs, the other Aprilia rider is still to be cleared to race.

Aleix Espargaro:

Aleix Espargaro will stay with Aprilia for two more MotoGP seasons after signing a new deal as wait for the 2020 to start continues.

Following the confirmation from Yamaha, Suzuki and Ducati regarding their rider line-ups for beyond the 2020 MotoGP season, Aprilia has announced the retention of Espargaro for two more seasons as the Spaniard signed a new deal with the Italian manufacturer.

Espargaro had joined Aprilia in 2017 - having made his debut in 2015 with Suzuki - and has been valuable asset for the Italian manufacturer in terms of development. His best result with them is sixth place in multiple MotoGP seasons.

"I am happy about this confirmation," said Espargaro. "The human aspect is extremely important for me, and in four seasons, Aprilia has become my second family, so with this contract, which is certainly the most important of my career, they demonstrated that I am at the centre of this project.

"On a technical level, the growth in recent months convinced me, with the arrival of many reinforcements and the debut of the 2020 RS-GP, which did so well in the tests. I feel like we need to finish the job we started over the winter. I can’t wait to get back together with my entire team and race with the new bike, to take this project where it deserves to be."

The re-signing of Espargaro comes at a time when MotoGP has been rocked with reports of multiple rider moves involving Honda, LCR, KTM, Avintia, Pramac and even Aprilia. The seat alongside the Spaniard is one of the hot properties right now.

Andrea Iannone is yet to be cleared to race in MotoGP with Bradley Smith likely to take his place, at least in 2020. For beyond the current season, Danilo Petrucci is the new name linked along with even Andrea Dovizioso, especially after Ducati signed Jack Miller.

Other reports link Pol Espargaro to be moving to Honda, with Alex Marquez to be dropped and likely to race for LCR. This led Cal Crutchlow to be linked to a ride with KTM and even Aprilia, while on Ducati side, Francesco Bagnaia seems to be in danger at Pramac.

Johann Zarco and Moto2's Jorge Martin are both linked to a seat with Pramac. Despite no racing yet in 2020 MotoGP season, there are multiple theories being written about. There could be some truth in it, while some could be, at best, only speculations.

Andrea Iannone:

Aprilia's Andrea Iannone has officially registered for his ban removal to allow him to compete again in MotoGP as WADA is pushing for a larger punishment period.

The official appeal has been registered by Iannone against his dope ban at The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who informed that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has also registered an appeal to extend the punishment period.

Iannone was banned for 18 months by FIM Court after the initial hearing, where it was found that he used substance which was against the WADA policy after the sample taken during 2019 Malaysian GP. The Italian missed the pre-season MotoGP tests as a result.

Iannone decided to appeal the decision and despite proving how the substance came into his system, the decision to ban remained. The COVID-19 pandemic came as a blessing in disguise for Iannone as the 2020 MotoGP season is yet to start.

But with Dorna Sports now inching closer for a mid-July start for MotoGP, it seems like Iannone will not be cleared to compete, as even though CAS has registered the case from both the sides, a date of hearing of the case is not fixed yet.

Aprilia, meanwhile, confirmed Aleix Espargaro in a new two-year contract. The Italian manufacturer will have a test at Misano on Wednesday with Bradley Smith - potential replacement of Iannone for 2020 - riding the RS-GP.

Here's the full statement from CAS:

"The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the appeals filed by Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the decision taken by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) International Disciplinary Court decision dated 31 March 2020 (the Challenged Decision) in which Andrea Iannone was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation and an 18-month period of ineligibility was imposed on him.

"Andrea Iannone seeks to have the Challenged Decision annulled, whereas WADA requests that the Challenged Decision be replaced by a new decision imposing a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider. The procedures have been consolidated and will be referred to the same Panel of arbitrators. A procedural timetable is being established for the filing of the written submissions. No hearing date has been fixed yet."

[Image courtesy: MotoGP] [Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]

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