Whether he likes it or not, Andrea Iannone is the name on everyone’s lips right now. The outcome of his doping case is creating a lot of talk in the world of MotoGP, sport in general, and even the gossip columns.

In all this, many legal professionals are also having their say. We turned to Federica Costa, a lawyer who has answered other questions of ours in the past.

MotoGP, Andrea Iannone suspended for four years by the CAS

An unfair or improper sentence?

To better understand, we need to consider the entire process, but we can be sure that the judicial bodies in Lausanne have respected the regulation: “Definitely, but we’d need to carefully analyse the dynamics, from start to finish - comments Federica – reading the whole hearing. From a human standpoint, I can say that I feel very sorry for Andrea Iannone, because we’re talking about a guy who has dedicated his body and soul to sport, making it his lifestyle. Or rather his life. It’s not nice to read these words, in fact I was speechless for a second when I learned of this. The rider has been given the maximum penalty, no half measures.”

No half measures, precisely. All or nothing (or almost, as the Italian’s already adhered to a one-year suspension). After a brief reflection, Costa goes on to analyse the reasons that led to this maximum sentence: “It’s a harsh decision of course – she explains – but the reasoning behind this judgment is absolutely in line with the regulation. We couldn’t expect anything too different and, back in the day, I myself said that Iannone was risking receiving the maximum ban. My vision was clear, up to a four-year suspension, or rather the worst punishment for an athlete in his position.

No precedent, only one mitigating circumstance. Useless

Andrea’s sports rap sheet is now marked, forever. But prior to this case, the Italian rider was ‘clean’, with no unlawful precedents or similar episodes.

For Costa, that was the only real factor that could have worked in his favour: “As with every case, there are mitigating circumstances. Obviously we talk about daily life, not just sport and motorcycling. So Iannone could have been ‘helped’ by a mitigating circumstancce that was instead not considered. On his side, they were unable to demonstrate the involuntariness of the act. They talked of food contamination… clearly this theory was not confirmed, and so the sentence is logical. In the absence of tangible proof, sentencing will be heavy. The rider was asked to confirm what he’s said in recent months, but nothing convinced the jury. A jury that, as we’ve said, inflicted the maximum penalty, as per the regulation. I predicted something like this and, unfortunately for him, my prediction proved correct.”

Iannone after the sentencing: “They’ve broken my heart, but I won’t give up”

Possible further damage

Having been removed from the classification and having lost his points, prizes and various awards, the former Aprilia rider might have more to come – though we hope not. The matter of damage to image for example. This is what Federica has to say: “No one wishes for this of course but, working as I do with sports contracts, I’ve come across various situations. A sponsor might hang over the Italian’s head, claiming damage to its image. In effect, the brand in question was linked to his performance on track, it’s true, and also his private life. This isn’t a party, or the opening of a new bar. This is a major disqualification, something we’ve not seen before in motorcycling. However it plays out, the facts remain recorded. This is the mark, perhaps an indelible one. What company in the field would link its brand to his name?  If we want to look even closer, team Gresini might even appeal, and therefore Yamaha too. What has happened is serious, unpleasant and, probably, avoidable. Unfortunately it’s done now and the only thing Andrea might do is seek personal compensation. I mean, his career is now compromised, but he as a person is not. He should focus on this to lighten the load a little”.

MotoGP 2020, Valentino Rossi's annus horribilis