Joe Roberts happy to make mistakes because they reveal the right direction in Moto2


For Joe Roberts, the 24-year-old American rider in Moto2, mistakes are not a necessary evil, they are simply necessary.

Prior to the Grand Prix of Qatar, which can be seen Sunday, 1:30 ET on CNBC, Roberts joined NBC’s Parker Kligerman via Zoom from his home in Barcelona to discuss preseason testing and the end of his 2021 season. The complete interview can be viewed above.

“(Testing) was really important to understanding this bike; how we can get this thing running up front all of the time,” Roberts said. “Even laps that were terrible were valuable to me because I learned what not to do.

“We had a couple of fast laps that came together. I still think we have some work to do, but overall I’m happy because we went the wrong way, so I know which way to go. Which is the right way.

“When we started to go in that direction, things got quicker and quicker.”

After scoring his first Moto2 podium for American Racing in 2020 and finishing seventh in the points, Roberts hit the track in 2021 with a new team.

Expectations were high at Italtrans Racing. Roberts came close to earning a second podium in the Italian Grand Prix, but incurred a controversial penalty for exceeding track limits

Then he suffered a broken collarbone at Misano in October.

What should have been an easy repair turned out to be not so simple. He tried to come back too soon and the plate broke apart, taking bits of the bone with it, and Roberts was done for the season.

But that did not dull Roberts’ enthusiasm for fast, flowing tracks with long straightaways.

On this type of course, which includes this weekend’s venue in Qatar, “you feel like you’re flowing,” Roberts said. “When you hit the ground, you know how fast you’re going, but prior to that you just feel like you’re gliding on the track.”

Gliding down the straights is fun, but speed is gained in the corners. During the offseason, Roberts spent a lot of time on short road courses, drifting through tight corners like a sprint car.

“Supermoto for me is really fun to ride a bike like that and slide it into the corners, but it teaches a lot of mental discipline,” Roberts said. “I go to ride Supermoto – and I go alone most of the time – and I just hammer out laps. I try to be perfect every lap.

“It’s my kind of thing, because Moto2 comes down to those little tenths, those little margins that separate you from first to 10th or 20th.”

Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
High Limit Racing - Twitter

It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway