First it was baseball, then the witch-hunt progressed through the other professional sports, going as far as NASCAR and Formula1. So, it makes logic sense to say that it was only a matter of time before the issues of athletic doping entered into the motorcycle racing world.
While the issue of doping in motorsports seems almost absurd, considering the benefits of athletic doping are deminimus when machinery takes center-stage, it would seem our beloved sport is not immune from athletes looking for that extra edge during competition.
UPDATE: David Emmett of MotoGP Matters has revealed in the comments below that Rodríguez, while testing positive during a doping screening, in fact had recreation drugs in his system, not performance enhancing drugs as we had thought earlier. Thanks for the tip David.
The Real Federación Española de Motociclismo (RFME), the Spanish version of our AMA, have announced that 2008 600cc National Champion, Angel Rodríguez, has tested positive for doping, which was later confirmed with a secondary sample. Rodríguez, the current points leader for the 2009 season, tested positive at the July 19th Spanish Supersport race at Albacete, Spain.
Because of these testing results, Rodríguez’s season is now over, even though the RFME hasn’t come to an official conclusion on the sanctions and punishment it will impose on the young Spanish rider. Howver, it is likely that Rodríguez is likely facing a 2-year suspension from motorcycle racing.
While the incident is tragic, it legitimizes the drug testing the FIM has conducted on MotoGP and other Grand Prix racers, and shows that even in motorcycling, riders are looking for any edge they can get to rise above the rest.
The big question now, is what sort of discussions this incident will bring forth in arenas like the AMA and MotoGP.