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MotoGP Austin: Maiden Moto2 pole for Beaubier on home soil

A delighted Cameron Beaubier celebrated his debut Moto2 pole position with American Racing on home soil on Saturday.

The 29-year-old will line up at the head of his home race on Sunday after his 2’08.751 lap around the Circuit of the Americas dominated qualifying by over three-tenths. Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti secured his place on the front row having journeyed through from Q1 with Aron Canet joining him in Parc Fermé, in third.

Qualifying in Texas began with local talent on track as the intermediate class rolled out of the COTA pitlane. Sean Dylan Kelly flying the American Racing flag on his world championship debut in front of his native fans for Q1 with teammate Beaubier and Italtrans Joe Roberts preparing for the Q2 shootout still to come.


Current championship leader Vietti joined the early fight as he topped the initial times on the Mooney VR46 before quickly advancing the 2’10 pace with his next laps to sit half a second clear at the halfway stage.

Simone Corsi was the first to fall, at turn ten on a personal best, with RW Racing’s Barry Baltus and Zonta van den Goorbergh leading VR46 Master Camp’s Manual Gonzalez in the top four ahead of the final runs.

Five minutes to go and the standings shuffled as MV Agusta’s Marcos Ramirez hit the top on a 2’10.154 from Liqui Moly’s Jeremy Alcoba and Filip Salac on the Gresini with Pertamina SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder demoting Vietti out of the promotion zone.

The Italian struck back with just over a minute left on the clock as he crossed the line on 2’09.927 pace, yellow flags flying in sector three as Salac crashed out at turn 12.

Bendsneyder was the next to fly as he beat Vietti’s time by just over a tenth, the VR46 rider improving his pace as he consolidated second, just 0.016s shy, as the chequered flag dropped. Ramirez and Alcoba completing the final promotees.

Beaubier and Roberts were the first out as Q2 fired up. The former heading back to the pits without setting a time two laps later while Navarro was seen dawdling on track as he waited for a tow. The Flexbox rider already facing a long lap penalty for Sunday’s race after crashing under yellow flags in FP3.

As the initial laps registered, Vietti took charge. Red Bull’s Augusto Fernandez crashing out at turn 17 on his first flying lap. Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura headed Roberts on the provisional front row with Sam Lowes striking for fourth. His Elf Marc VDS teammate Tony Arbolino lost the front at turn eight with Ogura the next to crash at turn 11 as his Honda machine lay in the middle of the racing line with five minutes to go.

Beaubier staked his claim on a front row place with a 2’09.847 lap, just Aron Canet and Vietti ahead, before Arbolino recovered to demote him on his way to second. The Californian was far from done however as he took provisional pole with a 2’08.751, to the delight of his American Racing team.  

A crash for Canet at turn 17 brought out the yellows in the final sector with just one minute to go, Arbolino’s time disappearing due to the previous flags.


With the clock at zero the dream was realised as Beaubier secured pole position in front of the home crowd. Vietti and Canet completed the front row as a late effort from the determined Arbolino returned him to fourth. Aspar’s Albert Arenas and Jake Dixon sat fifth and sixth ahead of Navarro, Fermín Aldeguer and Lowes with Pedro Acosta rounding out the top ten for KTM.

Ogura, Bendsneyder, Schrotter, Ramirez and Alcoba claimed 11th to 15th with a disappointed Roberts heading row six from Chantra and the fallen Fernandez.

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