Joe Roberts will leave American Racing for another team in the Moto2 series


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.

“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.”

Joe Roberts celebrates the Moto2 pole position Oct. 10 at Le Mans, France during the MotoGP of France (Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images).

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.