It’s official: Five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier is taking over for Joe Roberts on the American Racing Team in the Moto2 World Championship for 2021-2022 with the 27-year-old Californian putting pen to paper on a two-year contract this week and then talking about it in a joint press conference with Yamaha and American Racing team owner Eitan Butbul today at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Beaubier will compete one last time on the Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha YZF-R1 this weekend in the three HONOS Superbike races that will headline the GEICO Motorcycle MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest at Monterey, which is the series finale. Prior to the afternoon press conference, Beaubier earned his 28th career Superbike pole position in the final qualifying.
Yamaha has opted to let Beaubier out of the second year of his contract in order for him to pursue his dream of being a World Champion and presented their six-time champion with a plaque to celebrate his success with the company.
Beaubier will replace Joe Roberts, the former MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion, on the two-rider MotoGP team, joining the returning Marcos Ramirez. Roberts will move to the ItalTrans team for 2021.
“I just want to express how thankful I am for all the great years I had with Yamaha,” Beaubier said. “Tom (Halverson) and Keith (McCarty) took a chance on me when I was a young kid coming back from Europe. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s pretty crazy how fast these nine years have gone by. Truthfully, I’m really excited to go to over and start this new chapter of my career in the MotoGP paddock with American Racing, but I’m just as bummed to leave the family we have created here the past nine years. It’s going to be amazing to look back on all our success because it all went so quick.”
American Racing Team owner Butbul, a Los Angeles-based real estate developer, is determined to bring American racers to the forefront in the MotoGP World Championship, and his team has found success in its second year with Roberts, the young Californian earning three pole positions and a podium finish thus far in 2020. Roberts is currently seventh in the 2020 Moto2 World Championship.
Beaubier, meanwhile, is inarguably the most successful rider in MotoAmerica’s history as the promoter of the series, with his five Superbike titles and 51 career Superbike wins. Only Mat Mladin has won more AMA Superbike titles with seven and only Mladin (82 wins) and Hayes (61 wins) have more victories in the history of AMA Superbike racing than Beaubier.
When Dutchman Michael Van Der Mark announced a few months ago that he was leaving the PATA Yamaha team next year to join BMW, speculation focused on that spot on the official Yamaha World Superbike team going to Beaubier. Last week, Yamaha announced newly crowned World Supersport Champion Andrea Locatelli to replace Van Der Mark. However, as it turns out Beaubier always had his eyes on the MotoGP World Championship.
The coming season will not be Beaubier’s first crack at international racing as he is a former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup racer and did a season in the 125cc World Championship for the Red Bull KTM Moto Sport team.
In addition to his five MotoAmerica Superbike Championships (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020), Beaubier also won the AMA Daytona SportBike Championship on a Yamaha YZF-R6 in 2013.
Beaubier moving to the Moto2 World Championship and Gerloff’s late-season success in the World Superbike Championship have brought worldwide attention to MotoAmerica as the feeder series Dorna was hoping for. With Beaubier, Roberts and Gerloff all racing at the front of the Moto2 and Superbike World Championships, respectively, the strength of the U.S. series is now beginning to bear fruit.