Cameron Beaubier continues to forge a path to the front in his FIM Moto2 World Championship debut season. On Sunday at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, the 28-year-old Californian worked his way from the ninth row of the starting grid to a career-best eighth at the checkers.
Beaubier’s American Racing teammate, Marcos Ramirez, likewise was poised for a top 10 finish at the sixth round of the championship in the picturesque Italian countryside, but the 23-year-old Spaniard crashed, unhurt, in the closing laps.
Downfield after three 40-minute practices at the 15-turn, 3.26-mile track, Ramirez and Beaubier were consigned to Qualifying 1 on Saturday. Light rain fell early in the 15-minute session, but, like the rest of the field, both riders stayed out on Dunlop slicks.
Ramirez’s third lap, a 1:52.006, was third quickest, and the second-year intermediate-class rider advanced to Q2 with three others. The best lap that Beaubier managed in the tricky conditions was a 1:53.008, 12th overall.
Conditions worsened in Q2, with moisture beginning to dampen the track. Ramirez ran as high as fourth, but he slipped to 14th at the end of the 15-minute session.
For the race, ambient temperature was 69 degrees Fahrenheit, with the sun-warmed track surface two degrees into triple digits. Ramirez and Beaubier started well from 14th and 25th on the grid, bolting into 11th and 18th after the first of 21 laps.
Ramirez moved into the top 10 by Lap 6 and eighth on Lap 16. Beaubier, who last raced at Mugello in 2007 on a 125cc two-stroke, advanced one and sometimes two places each lap. Engaged in a seven-rider battle, the five-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion drafted ex-MotoGP racer Hafizh Syahrin at the finish for eighth.
KTM Ajo rider Raul Fernandez earned his second consecutive pole position. Fernandez’s teammate, Remy Gardner, narrowly won the race ahead of Fernandez and continues to lead the championship points standings.
“That was a tough but positive weekend for Cam,” said American Racing Team Race Director John Hopkins. “Hard work and determination from him and his team definitely paid off. Marcos has been starting to show his true talent and potential. He seemed to have a top eight finish in the bag, but sadly crashed with a few laps to go. Even though it was a bittersweet end to the weekend, we are confident that we will see both riders finishing within the top 10 in the near future.”
Before the start of the MotoGP race, the paddock observed a minute of silence in memory of Jason Dupasquier. The 19-year-old Swiss rider died from injuries sustained in an accident during Moto3 qualifying.
After six rounds, Beaubier is 14th in the championship standings. Ramirez is 20th. Round 7 of the FIM Moto2 World Championship, the Grand Prix of Catalunya, is June 4-6 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.