Cameron Beaubier delivered an outstanding FIM Moto2 World Championship debut performance for the American Racing Team under the floodlights on Sunday at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar.
Despite strong winds that deposited a fine layer of sand from the surrounding desert on the 16-turn, 3.34-mile circuit, Beaubier continued to work toward extracting greater performance from his Triumph-powered Kalex chassis and Dunlop tires.
In the 20-minute pre-race Warm Up, the five-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion produced the seventh-quickest overall lap of the session, a 2:00.692.
Starting the 20-lap race from 22nd on the 28-rider grid, Beaubier attacked his competition, advancing one or even two places in a single lap. He consistently circulated in the low 2-minute range, with a best of 2:00.045 on lap 14.
The 28-year-old Californian finished 11th, showing steady progress throughout the weekend and earning five championship points. Sam Lowes won the race from pole position.
“What a crazy race,” said Beaubier. “Now, I see how important qualifying is in this class. I kept my head down and made some good passes. I am happy to get this first race under my belt and move on to next weekend.”
Despite crashing in qualifying on Saturday and fracturing his humerus near the shoulder joint, Beaubier’s teammate, Marcos Ramirez, was declared fit on Sunday and started the race. He pulled in after one lap.
“With this wind, in the fast corners I could barely hold on to the bike,” said Ramirez. “I wanted to test the start and little else.”
American Racing Team Owner Eitan Butbul described the weekend as bittersweet.
“The job that Cameron was able to do in his first Moto2 race was amazing,” he said. “He has the pace to run at the front. To come from 22nd to 11th in this field shows his motivation, potential and talent.
“Sadly, the weekend did not end as well for Marcos. After finding a good direction with bike setup in Qualifying 1 and showing he had the pace to advance to Qualifying 2, he had a high-speed crash, resulting in a small fracture.
“He was cleared to race—even performing one-handed pushups—but the strong winds were too much,” said Butbul. “He pulled in after the start, which was the safest decision. After Marcos rests for a week, we hope to see him fighting his way to the front alongside his sensational teammate, Cameron.”
Practice for the second round of the FIM Moto2 World Championship, which also will be held at the Losail International Circuit, begins Friday.