The American Racing Team has confirmed Joe Roberts will exit the outfit at the end of the 2020 Moto2 World Championship season, with rumours tipping multiple MotoAmerica champ Cameron Beaubier to replace him.
The 23-year old made his Moto2 debut in 2017 but has flourished against expectations this season under the guidance of former MotoGP rider John Hopkins, scoring a maiden podium finish at Brno and notching up a trio of podiums.
Though it was expected he would remain under the American Racing banner – which was created to foster American talent in the GP paddock – Roberts will instead switch to another team, understood to be Italtrans, for 2021.
“I want to say a huge thank you to Eitan Butbul, John Hopkins and the whole American Racing Team. I really feel I have taken a big step as a rider with the program we have had this year. We are having a fantastic season together and they are a great bunch of guys to be around.
“Eitan [Butbul], 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.”
Roberts is bidding to become the first American rider to compete full-time in MotoGP since the late Nicky Hayden, with Ducati reportedly considering taking him on from 2022.
With Marcos Ramirez signed on for 2021 and the team vowing to keep at least one American in its midst, attention is turning to whom could replace Roberts.
The name being batted about is Beaubier, a five-time MotoAmerica Champion, with his signing seeming logical given American Racing Team’s presence in the series with its own Academy. When asked what he thought about the prospect of Beaubier coming over to compete on the world stage, Roberts admits he has heard the rumours too.
“I have heard about Cameron going there, which would be awesome because he is a good friend of mine. He is a nice guy and I think next year it would be interesting to see him on a Moto2 bike because he has been on Superbikes for a long time. If he needs a tow next year, then I am happy to help!”