Cameron Beaubier aims for top 10 Moto2 finish on Sunday in Qatar

Cameron Beaubier will start Sunday’s Grand Prix of Doha, the second round the FIM Moto2 World Championship, from the middle of the 28-rider grid.

The 28-year-old Californian qualified 14th, a marked improvement from his eighth-row series debut a week ago at the 16-turn, 3.34-mile Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

“I was looking for a little more in qualifying, to be honest,” said Beaubier. “It was tough with the wind. I didn’t nail any great laps, but on a positive note, we improved from last week. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Twenty-first in Free Practice 1 on Friday, Beaubier was 14th in FP2, allowing him to bypass Qualifying 1 and transfer directly to Q2.

The wind picked up on Saturday, blowing fine sand across the track. Beaubier was sixth in FP3, for the first time finishing a practice session in front of fellow American Joe Roberts, who holds the all-time Moto2 lap record at Losail.

American Racing Team Director John Hopkins is elated with the speed in which Beaubier has adapted to the Moto2-spec 765cc Triumph engine and Kalex chassis. Both represent significant departures from the liter-class Yamaha YZF-R1 that Beaubier raced in MotoAmerica Superbike competition.

“Cameron is a world-class rider,” said Hopkins. “There was a huge learning curve. He had to make a lot of changes to his riding. He is surprising us, but I know he has it in him to even go further and continually progress.”

For the second consecutive weekend, Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes will start from pole position. Lowes also won the first race and leads the championship. Beaubier is 11th in the points standings.

Beaubier’s teammate, Marcos Ramirez, is not riding this weekend. The Spaniard crashed in qualifying for the season-opening race and fractured the humeral head of his right arm.

Ramirez underwent additional medical checks this week. He will be rechecked in two weeks at the Algarve International Circuit, host of the Grand Prix of Portugal.

“After FP3, we felt we could do better in qualifying,” said Eitan Butbul, American Racing team owner. “Since Marcos is not riding, the entire team worked on Cameron’s side to prepare the bike and the strategy.

“We are happy with the result, and we can see the progress from last week. I am sure Cameron will be strong in the race.”