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Iannone secures 2024 World Superbike seat for post-doping ban return

MotoGP race winner Andrea Iannone will return to active competition for the first time since 2019 after signing a deal with Go Eleven to race in the World Superbike Championship next year.

Andrea Iannone, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

As reported by Autosport in August, Iannone will return to the Ducati fold to ride a Panigale V4 R in 2024, having previously spent four years with the Italian marque in MotoGP between 2013 and 2016.

Iannone has been absent from racing since 2020 after he was handed a four-year ban for testing positive for taking illegal steroids.

With the ban set to be uplifted in 2024, the Italian has spent much of the year targeting a comeback, and has been seen at several WSBK races in order to seal a contract with Ducati.

The deal was officially announced on Wednesday, just over a week before the 2023 season finale at Jerez on 28-29 October.

“I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, I'm finally back on track, where I spent my life. I thank Gigi Dall'Igna, Paolo Ciabatti, Claudio Domenicali, Marco Zambenedetti and the whole GoEleven team for their trust; with their support I have rediscovered the enthusiasm I had as a child. Special thanks also to the WorldSBK family for the opportunity. I'm fully excited."

Philipp Ottl, Team Goeleven

Philipp Ottl, Team Goeleven

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

A former frontrunner in Moto2, Iannone stepped up to the premier class in 2013 with Pramac before landing a role with the factory Ducati team two years later.

During this stint, Iannone scored a memorable victory at the Red Bull Ring and secured a best finish of fifth in the championship, but was stepped aside by Ducati to make way for Jorge Lorenzo.

Iannone subsequently moved to Suzuka in 2017 and enjoyed limited success, before joining forces with Aprilia in ‘19.

The doping ban, which was announced in April 2020, prevented him from returning to MotoGP for an eight straight season.

Denis Sacchetti, team manager for Team GoEleven, describing the signing of Iannone as a “courageous choice” but feels the 34-year-old has the determination to be successful in World Superbike.

“We have worked hard to make this dream real; we have wanted to shout it out to the world for some time now, but creating such an important project is not easy and must be structured carefully,” he said.

“‘The Maniac’ has decided to get back into the game, it's not for everyone, it takes guts after everything that has happened and so much time away from racing. It is a courageous choice, for some it may seem crazy, but the right amount of madness and courage can lead to great feats. 

“Why this bet? When we started talking to him, we were impressed by his determination, grit and desire to go back doing what he loves.”

Iannone will take the place of Philipp Oettl, unless Go Eleven can expand to a second bike in 2024.

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