Milan (AFP) - Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Iannone has been banned for 18 months after testing positive for anabolic steroids, the international motorcycling federation (FIM) announced on Wednesday.
Iannone, 30, tested positive in a urine sample collected at an in-competition test at the Malaysian MotoGP in Sepang on November 3.
An FIM disciplinary hearing imposed a ban from December 17, 2019 to June 16, 2021.
Iannone's team Aprilia said they would be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as the FIM had recognised the possibility of food contamination.
"On the one hand they recognise my innocence, because they speak of involuntary contamination, but we lost because I was sentenced," Iannone told Sky Sport Italia.
"But it could have been worse, now we will immediately resort to CAS to try to get back in the saddle as soon as possible."
Iannone was disqualified from the final two rounds of the 2019 season in Malaysia and Valencia, but remained 16th in the standings on 43 points, as he failed to finish both races.
"The sentence leaves us baffled by the punishment imposed on Andrea but also very satisfied," Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola said in a statement.
"The judges recognised Andrea's total good faith in confirming the thesis of food contamination.
"We want Andrea riding his Aprilia RS-GP, we will be at his side until the end and we will support him in his appeal."
Iannone joined Aprilia last season following two years with Suzuki.