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Iannone pitches for satellite Ducati ride for 2024 WorldSBK as end of doping ban looms

Gold & Goose
Andrea Iannone, Aprilia Racing, 2019 MotoGP, portrait [credit Gold & Goose]

Barni Spark Racing boss Marco Barnabo has revealed former MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has enquired about the prospect of joining the team for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship once his doping suspension comes to an end.

The Italian is coming towards the conclusion of a four-year ban from competing when he was found guilty of violating the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations after traces of Drostanolone were found in his blood.

Due to end in December 2023, though Iannone - who was contracted with Aprilia in MotoGP at the time of the ruling - has been prohibited from any form of professional racing as punishment since then, he has intimated that he is seeking a return to action from 2024.


While it is unlikely Iannone, 33, will find a way back into MotoGP straight away, he is instead canvassing options in WorldSBK and has remained in contact with Ducati, with whom he raced in the premier class.

With this in mind, Iannone was present at the recent Misano round to support his friend and current Barni Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci.

It has raised speculation that Iannone could land a deal with the team - which has just celebrated its first podium since 2018 with Petrucci’s run to third in Race 2 at Donington Park - should it swell to a two-rider effort. It’s a scenario Barnabo didn’t immediately reject.

“He is a great talent rider and I am sure he could be really good in this Championship,” he continued. “However, now my focus is on the work with Danilo. 

“So, as the project is not well defined and until we start getting the results we set, I don't know if we’ll be able to do something more of this. Never say never!”

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Similarly, former MotoGP rider Petrucci also reckons Iannone would be an asset to the Barni Ducati team.

“He’s already texted me! We were texting just five minutes ago. He said ‘I wish I can be there next year’; it would be fun! It's not my job this time for sure! Jokes apart, Andrea is a really a good talent. I would like to see him in this Championship. It would be a good step.”


Initially suspended for 18 months, Iannone’s appeal against the sentence prompted a counter-appeal from WADA that led to the suspension being extended to a maximum term of four years.

Counting against Iannone’s WorldSBK aspirations, however, is a potential lack of available Ducati seats to fill. The manufacturer currently has five Panigale V4 Rs on the grid, two of which it supplies directly to satellite arms Barni and Go Eleven, the other purchased by Motorcorsa.

In addition to its two factory entries, Ducati is in talks over adding a sixth machine to the grid in 2024 for Marc VDS Racing, which is said to be entertaining the prospect of making the switch from Moto2. 

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