Going forward, the MotoGP Championship will begin testing its riders for alcohol consumption, adding a breathalyzer test to its random drug screening process.
While alcohol use has been banned in MotoGP since 2004, today’s news comes as the FIM has added the testing protocol to its 2017 medical code.
Like its current process regarding the screening for drug use, the FIM will pick three random riders before several rounds during the season, and make them take a mandatory breathalyzer test.
We really don’t talk about marijuana enough on Asphalt & Rubber. With the drug gaining acceptance around the country as having legitimate medical uses, and stigmas about its recreational use changing, we are seeing numerous states re-evaluating their policies regarding marijuana.
With no empirical evidence to support this claim, we can only imagine though the number of motorcyclists riding while high on marijuana is increasing, an act that certainly isn’t a good idea, nor is it legal.
Hoping to educate motorcyclists to the dangers of mixing marijuana and motorcycles, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has created the Riding Straight – Marijuana Awareness Host-An-Event Kit, which essentially uses a special set of goggles and several exercises that show how marijuana use affects a motorcyclist’s perception, awareness, and physical abilities.
A month ago, the Victory TT electric race bike was stolen from the Brammo’s headquarters in Talent, Oregon. Thankfully, the bike was recovered quickly, though it suffered some damage to the bodywork, and the rear wheel was removed. Two suspects were arrested in conjunction with the theft, and currently are out on $25,000 bail bonds. We will have to let the great wheel of justice sort out the facts, and awaits the two suspects in question. While one would likely not call the legal process entertaining, there are some amusing facts at issue to this case.
The use of performance-enhancing (or in the case of Anthony Gobert, performance-reducing) drugs in motorcycle racing is an interesting subject. There have been very few racers who have been caught for using doping of one kind of another, but the FIM continues to police the issue very strictly, even organizing a special educational briefing session for all of the riders in the MotoGP paddock in 2011. At Brno, when news broke of Lance Armstrong’s decision to stop fighting the charges made by the US Anti-Doping Agency, the subject came up during one of Ben Spies’ daily press conferences. Spies is both a Texan and a very keen cycle racer, running his own elite cycling team, Elbowz Racing, and so it was a natural topic for discussion.
With news coming out that the Kawasaki World Superbike team that is run by Paul Bird Motorsports had a large amount of cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana seized from two of the team’s trucks while entering the United Kingdom, Paul Bird Motorsports has released a statement addressing the issue on how such a large quantity of drugs found its way onto the team’s vehicles.
While the team is not sure how the drugs came on-board the team trucks, Paul Bird Motorsports was quick to point out that it was confident that none of its team members were involved, and that no one from the WSBK squad has been detained since the initial seizure. You can read the full press statement after the jump.
According to the UK’s Telegraph, the Kawasaki World Superbike trucks of Paul Bird Motorsport were stopped by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), and found drugs and a gun with 35 rounds. Now, we know what you’re thinking, someone forgot to hide their stash, and the media is making a mountain out of a molehill, right? However crossing by ferry into England, presumably for the Donington Park round, the UKBA allegedly stopped and searched a pair of Kawasaki trucks, finding 157 lbs (71kg) of amphetamine tablets, more than 220 lbs (100kg) of marijuana, and enough cocaine to kill a small elephant (18 lbs/ 8kg).
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 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.