Moto2 rider Joe Roberts will be leaving the American Racing Team (ART) after this season, remaining in the series to join championship-contending Italtrans Racing.
The Malibu, California, native has enjoyed a breakthrough at ART this year, opening 2020 by becoming the first American in a decade to win a pole position in MotoGP’s intermediate class. Roberts also won pole positions last week at Le Mans and in August at the Czech Republic, where he finished on the podium.
In a statement, Roberts thanked ART co-owner Eitan Butbul and riding coach John Hopkins, who will continue to help manage his career.
“I really feel I have taken a big step as a rider with the program we have had this year,” Roberts said. “We are having a fantastic season together, and they are a great bunch of guys to be around. Eitan, John and I agree it is the right time for me to take this next step towards my goal of being a world champion. I wish the American Racing Team all the best and support their goal of bringing Americans to the world level.
“The plan now is to continue the season strong. John, my crew chief Lucio, and my guys and I will be focused 100% on giving the maximum in all five remaining rounds of the season and pushing to win races.”
American Racing Team said it’ll announce a new teammate for Marcos Ramirez in 2021. Four-time Superbike champion Cameron Beaubier reportedly is in consideration for the ride.
After 2 incredible years together, Joe Roberts & The American Racing Team will part ways at the end of the 2020 season. The American Racing Team is excited to see Roberts move to another Moto2 team to further progress in his career and are extremely grateful for the past 2 years.
— American Racing Moto2 Team (@AmericanMoto2) October 15, 2020
“John Hopkins and I originally partnered to start the American Racing Academy simply to get American riders ‘successfully’ back into the MotoGP paddock,” Butbul said in a release. “This could be achieved through the American Racing Moto2 Team as the perfect platform, with Joe as our first American rider taking on this new challenge.
“I believed in Joe’s talent from the day we started working together in 2018 (as his personal manager) and with the hard work of the American Team we managed to achieve the goal of having Joe show the potential to be a top contender.
“At the same time, a great opportunity to bring over a very strong American talent for the 2021 season has recently come into play, and with Joe Roberts at the end of his current contract with the Team and Marcos Ramirez on a two-year deal demonstrating constant improvement, the best option was to have Joe step into another Moto2 team that he personally feels is strong and competitive enough to further develop his career. The move is in line with the goal to make the jump into the MotoGP Championship in the upcoming years.”