Marcos Ramirez and Cameron Beaubier will start Sunday’s Grand Prix of Spain, Round 4 of the FIM Moto2 World Championship, from the fifth and sixth rows of the grid after qualifying 14th and 16th.
The American Racing teammates have shown steady improvement at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, which is located in the southernmost region of Spain, known as Andalucía. The track is 2.75 miles in length, with 13 corners, eight of which are right handers.
Ramirez hails from the nearby coastal town of Conil de la Frontera. After the opening practice on Friday, he and Beaubier were 24th and 23rd overall. The 23-year-old Spaniard was quicker in the second 40-minute session, while Beaubier crashed, unhurt. They ended the day 23rd and 27th.
Ramirez also led the way in FP3, finishing 19th; Beaubier was 25th. The five-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion turned the tables in Qualifying 1, topping the 15-minute session with a 1:41.308 lap. Ramirez was second, with a nearly identical time, 1:41.351.
“Things started to click this morning, especially for Cameron,” said American Racing Race Director John Hopkins. “He and his new crew chief, Stuart Shenton, got the bike working well, and Cameron went out and did what he knows how to do.”
In Qualifying 2, neither Beaubier nor Ramirez was able to match his Q1 times. Both sessions were run in warm, dry conditions. Dunlop introduced a softer-compound rear tire at Jerez, the use of which only was permitted in practice and qualifying.
KTM Ajo rider Remy Gardner earned pole position with a new lap record, 1:40.667.
Shenton replaces Luca Capocchiano. The highly experienced Grand Prix engineer has worked with Americans Freddie Spencer, Kevin Schwantz and Hopkins, among other riders. Shenton spent 19 years at Suzuki, retiring at the end of the 2010 season.
“Stuart was my crew chief throughout my entire career at Suzuki MotoGP,” said Hopkins. “It is really cool having him back. It is a good feeling.”
Beaubier and Ramirez delivered their best race results of the season, ninth and 15th, two weeks ago in Portugal. The pair intend to improve on those performances for Los Angeles-based American Racing in Sunday’s 23-lap Moto2 race.