Joe Roberts rediscovered his season-opening speed in MotoGP Moto2 qualifying Saturday at Automotodrom Brno, scoring his second pole position of the season.
With a lap of 2 minutes, 1.692 seconds on his No. 16 Kalex bike, the American edged Sam Lowes by 0.13 seconds to take the top starting spot in the Czech Republic Grand Prix. Enea Bastianini will start third
After finishing fourth from the pole position in the March 8 opener at Qatar, Roberts had struggled with consecutive 17th-place finishes in the past two rounds at Jerez since the series returned from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
AMERICAN LEGACY: Roberts seeks to become the next great U.S. rider
“Yeah, it was quite difficult for me to come back from the long break,” the Malibu, California, native said. “I think it was kind of extreme conditions, new front tire, a long break. It’s still quite a new team. I think it was a difficult start, but as soon as got here, I like these type of tracks where they’re very flowing, and I always said coming here I was going to do something amazing.
“I have a lot of confidence coming here, but if I’m honest, I didn’t expect that lap time. The whole weekend, we’re missing a little bit of something with the front, and then that last session, the guys gave me something with the bike that I really felt comfortable with, and I really just tried to put a perfect lap together, and I guess it was enough. Almost more happy about this one than in Qatar.”
With the Qatar pole, Roberts, 23, became Moto2’s first American pole-sitter in 10 years and said he also learned some racecraft while leading 15 of 20 laps in the opener that he plans on applying Sunday at the Brno circuit.
“I actually felt in qualifying even more confident with my race pace,” he said. “It’s really hard to know. The conditions here are really quite tricky. It’s hot and the grip is really down. Until you get there, you’re not really going to do know. Just have to give it everything you can, but in the practices, we’ve been quite strong with our pace. I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great race.”
In the premier MotoGP division, Johann Zarco took the pole over Fabio Quartararo, making it the first 1-2 Frenchman lockout of qualifying in series history. Quartararo is aiming for his third consecutive victory to start the season.
— American Racing Moto2 Team (@AmericanMoto2) August 8, 2020