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“Dramatic, disorientating, I stopped following MotoGP” - Andrea Iannone opens up on drugs ban

Andrea Iannone has opened up about how the impact of being suspended from racing for four years after failing a drugs test led to him avoiding MotoGP, admitting he initially found it tough to ‘adapt’ after ‘losing his whole life’.

The Italian tested positive for the banned substance Drostanolone during an in-competition drugs test taken during the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP. When his B-sample came back positive, Iannone was handed an 18-month suspension.

However, after Iannone’s attempts to appeal the ruling - arguing he had ingested the substance unknowingly via contaminated meat - were rejected, a subsequent successful counter-appeal by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) led to the suspension being extended to a maximum four-year term.


A strict decision that prevented Iannone participating in any competitive racing during this period, the ex-Ducati and Aprilia MotoGP rider - who has maintained his innocence throughout - says he was left ‘disorientated’ and reveals he found it difficult to cope with the ban initially.

“My four years without racing…” he begins in an interview with WorldSBK.com. 

“In the beginning, it was dramatic. It’s difficult to understand and adapt because I lost my whole life. When you lose everything, you are a little bit disorientated. 

“It’s like a big crash, but when you have a big crash, maybe you stop for a year. I stopped for four years. It’s tough to explain this situation. I felt a lot of support from my fans, my family, and my friends but it wasn’t easy. 

“Especially in the first year, I was a little bit more closed in on myself but, step by step, I started to live a normal life a little bit.”

Though Iannone initially sidestepped into other projects, which included a stint competing on the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars, he added that he intentionally cut his ties with MotoGP to limit the distress but stayed interested in WorldSBK.

However, it was during an appearance at Misano that Iannone was approached by Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna about the possibility of him racing again once his suspension ended, leading to him returning to action this season in WorldSBK with Team Go Eleven.

“I stopped following MotoGP and started following WorldSBK. I don’t know why but this is the reality. When I followed some races, I felt like I wanted to be in the races and the battle, and this is why I started talking with Gigi Dall’Igna sometimes. 

“One day, I went to Misano with my father and met him. We spoke a little bit and he said, ‘So, Andrea, you want this, and you think you’re ready?’. 


“I told him I was. I’m back after a long time, I’m really excited for this comeback. I’m happy, I live this dream. I won’t recover what I lost; it’s impossible, but in part, I want to try to recover my happiness.”

Iannone made his official return to racing at the 2024 WorldSBK season opener in Australia where he proved a revelation throughout, qualifying on the front row in his maiden Superpole session before picking up a podium in Race 1.

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