Ant West looks certain to miss the final round of Moto2 at Valencia. The Australian has been found guilty of using methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant on the WADA list of banned substances which is also used by the FIM in their anti-doping code. West tested positive at the Le Mans round of MotoGP, but he has only now been heard before the FIM International Disciplinary Court. The Court found West guilty of violating the anti-doping code, banned West from the Le Mans Moto2 round (meaning that his 7th place finish will be scrapped from the results) and had a 30-day competition ban imposed, starting October 30th. The ban means West will be unable to take race at Valencia in 10 days' time. He has five days to appeal the ban.
The substance West has been banned for is methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant originally marketed as a nasal decongestant. It also has mild stimulant properties, increasing body metabolism slightly. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in some sports supplements, especially those aimed at weight loss or weight control. However, because it is used in small quantities, it is not always listed in the ingredients of those supplements, making it easy to ingest without knowing it. There are currently programs, such as those run by the NSF, to label sports supplements as being safe for elite athletes to use, without falling foul of various anti-doping regulations.
Whether West ingested the methylhexaneamine accidentally or not, the case highlights two issues in motorcycle racing. The first is that, like all elite athletes, they need to take extreme care when selecting nutritional supplements to support their training regime. The second is that the role of rider weight needs to be examined, especially in horsepower-limited classes such as Moto2. The past ten years has seen more and more riders attempting to lose a lot of weight, sometimes to the point that it verges on an eating disorder. Both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden have looked increasingly thin during their time in MotoGP, a development not aided by the capacity reduction from 990cc to 800cc. Fortunately for the Moto2 riders, at least, the prospect of a combined rider/bike weight limit is looking increasingly likely.
For a similar case involving methylhexaneamine, see this story on the website of the Toronto Star.
Below is the FIM press release announcing the ban:
FIM Anti-doping controls
Decision of the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI)
In the matter of Anthony West (AUS) - 29 October 2012
Following FIM anti-doping controls carried out during the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix meeting held in Le Mans (FRA), one of the samples was found not in accordance with the FIM Anti-Doping Code.
The sample of Australian Moto2 class rider Anthony West contained Methylhexaneamine, a substance included in ‘S.6b Specified Stimulants’ prohibited in competition, and thereby infringed Art 2.1 of the 2012 FIM Anti-Doping Code.
Following the hearing of the rider, the CDI decided to disqualify Anthony West from the French round of the 2012 FIM Moto2 World Championship, held on 20 May in Le Mans. In addition, the CDI imposes on the rider a sanction of one month’s period of ineligibility to compete in any meeting authorised or organised by the FIM or any FIM-affiliated federation or body or in any competitions authorised or organised by any international or national level meeting organisation, from 30 October 2012.
An appeal may be lodged with the International Tribunal of Appeal (TIA) within 5 day as from the notification of the decision.