Cameron Beaubier impressed the MotoGP paddock in his FIM Moto2 World Championship debut on Sunday at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar.
After qualifying 22nd, the 28-year-old American passed a number of experienced Moto2 riders. He completed the 20-lap race in 11th, earning five championship points.
The five-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion received high praise during practice for the Grand Prix of Doha, the second of two rounds at the 16-turn, 3.34-mile circuit.
“He could have well been out of the points given the company he was keeping,” said television commentator Matt Dunn, “but he pulled some class moves over the race last Sunday.”
“He was really impressive,” said fellow commentator Neil Morrison. “For his first race in this class, Beaubier performed admirably. He didn’t qualify that well, but to finish 11th is seriously impressive.
“He was in a big, five- or six-rider scrap with some real Moto2 specialists. Beaubier just looked really composed, very clinical with some of his overtaking moves.
“We know the guy is super talented,” said Morrison, “but his late-race pace was probably good enough to be fighting for the top five. Lots more to come from Cam Beaubier—great, great Moto2 debut.”
On Friday, Beaubier completed the first of the two 40-minute practices in 21st, crashing unhurt in Turn 7 with 7 minutes remaining.
In the second session, Beaubier leapt from 22nd to 14th on his penultimate lap to advance directly to Qualifying 2 on Saturday.
“Bear in mind, it’s his debut in this class,” said Morrison. “He hasn’t ridden a Grand Prix since 2009. He spent the best part of the last decade riding superbikes.”
Beaubier’s American Racing teammate, Marcos Ramirez, is not riding this weekend. The 23-year-old Spaniard crashed in qualifying for the first race of the season and fractured the humeral head of his right arm.
Ramirez determinedly started the race, but he pulled off the track and returned to the team garage without completing a single lap.
Ramirez underwent additional medical checks this week for his arm. He will be rechecked in two weeks at the Algarve International Circuit, which will host the Grand Prix of Portugal.