Moto2: Exclusive interview with 2021 American Racing rider Cameron Beaubier

We spoke to five-time MotoAmerica champion Cameron Beaubier ahead of his 2021 move from the series to Moto2.

Cameron Beaubier will take the huge move from the American MotoAmerica series to race in the world championship, following the footsteps of Jayson Uribe (CEV Moto2), Joe Roberts (CEV Moto2 then WC Moto2), Benny Solis (CEV Moto2) and most recently Garrett Gerloff who moved to WorldSBK and has 3 podiums to his name in his rookie season.

Beaubier previously raced a Red Bull sponsored KTM in the 125cc world championship in 2009, teammate to a Marc Marquez, not sure if you’ve heard of him.

These moves motivated Beaubier more than ever to make the jump and not be left wondering “what if.”

We spoke to him about this huge move and the expectations for himself, why he moved and what will be different this time.

Tell us a little bit about when the conversations with Eitan and the American Racing Team got serious. Was this a quick negotiation or did this play out over time?

To be honest, it was a pretty quick thing. Everything kind of happened pretty quick.

Over the last few years, my management has been in contact with PATA Yamaha and that was sort of the direction I thought I wanted to go. They have a lot of good riders over there right now and I’m sort of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ doing the series over here. So, that opportunity kind of dried up over there and I talked to my manager Bob (Bob Moore of the Wasserman Group) as he has been kind of looking for opportunities over there.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t with the Yamaha family in WSBK. But he mentioned to me that Joe Roberts was moving so we started talking with Eitan Butbul (American Racing Team owner) about possibilities. I really didn’t have the MotoGP paddock on my mind because it was just so far away but once Bob and Eitan started talking we came up with this opportunity. I’m just super thankful for it, thankful to Eitan for giving me this shot from America. I think we can do some really good things together.

How do you feel the adjustment back into the MotoGP way of life or routine will be after adjusting to the MotoAmerica routine over the past few years after leaving the 125cc class?

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy actually. I went over there at such a young age. I was 14 when I did the Rookies Cup and 15 when I did the Academy. I turned 16 just in time for the one year I did the World Championship in 125cc’s with Red Bull KTM. That was 10 years ago, it’s crazy to think it’s been that long.

Obviously, I have a lot to learn, my learning curve is going to be pretty steep. I have to re-learn all the tracks, learn the bike, meet a new team and stuff like that but I’m ready for it. It’s pretty special that it’s American Racing, and John Hopkins is helping out as a rider coach and a mentor. I think it’s the best opportunity for me to get back in Europe.

What is your main motivation for making the move to the world stage at this point in your career? Is there a feeling of unfinished business or what might have been?

I think it is some of the ‘what might have been’ story. I did struggle a little bit over there when I was on the 125s. I was just a kid travelling the world by myself trying to figure out how to get a ride to the airport, a ride to my hotel, stuff like that. It was tough but it was an incredible experience for me. I feel like now that I’ve done that I kind of know what I need to back over there.

That was a while ago, I’m now established, I’ve won championships over here and I’ve grown a lot since I was over there the last time. I’m really looking forward to getting back over there. It’s a new chapter, a new motivation. I’ve been riding superbikes for 6 years now.

Beaubier hanging off his Yamaha R1, that elbow will need to be dragging in Moto2

What is the main factor which has kept you in MotoAmerica for the length of time you have stayed there given that WSBK has been a place many have hoped to see you ride?

To be honest, it’s been multiple reasons. It’s (MotoAmerica) close to home, I get to hang out with my family and friends. I have a great relationship with Yamaha that started back in 2012 on the 600. They’ve moved me right up the ladder, I was able to make good money. My team has become my family, not just the team but the people back in the office. We had it good here. After my success here I think it’s time for me to take the next step in my career and see what I have on the world stage. I just want to see how I can do against the best in the world.

What do you expect of the Moto2 move and how will you need to apply yourself?

Obviously, I’m going to come in ready, prepared and in shape for the season. It’s a lot longer season than what we’re used to here. We have double-headers here and they only have 1 race but they go to twice as many tracks around the world. It’s definitely just going to be getting used to the travel again. In terms of the bike, they run a similar electronic system as we run here in the states. It’s not going to be easy by any means but it’s a full-on race bike and I’m excited to get on it and see how it is.

What was it that the American Racing Team had over other teams which made you decide to make the jump?

I wouldn’t give up what I have here for something I’m completely unsure about over there. The progression that American Racing Team has had over the past years is incredible. It seems like both of their current riders have been happy, the whole team gets on with each other pretty well and their very professional too.

I met Eitan with Hopkins back at Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI) earlier in the year. He’s a great guy and it was just really cool to talk to him and get to know him a little bit and John Hopkins. I’ve looked up to Hopkins as I was growing up. It seemed like everything was pretty solid over there and I’m lucky to have this opportunity and I’m ready to make the most of it.

Hard on the brakes getting her stopped 

In the beginning, there will undoubtedly be an adjustment period and it is possible you will not win from the get-go, maybe not even get on the podium. This will surely have an impact on you mentally, have you started to think how you’re going to handle that? How do you feel you will manage the change from winning every race to possibly not winning straight away in arguably the toughest motorcycle racing class in the world?

You’ve got to be realistic about the situation, right? I’m going over there to do the best I can, but I have so much to learn and these guys have been over there doing this stuff for a while. It would be easy to sit here and say ‘I’m going over there to win’ but that’s not how this works. I have a lot to learn and the eventual goal is to get there (winning) and, like I said, I’m going to take my time and learn as much as I can. I’m excited to start a new chapter and try to climb the ladder over there.

Will you be able to bring the Monster Energy sponsorship with you to the American Racing Team?

No, my Monster deal is through my current team. Currently, I do not have a personal Monster deal.

Finally, do you know which number you will be racing under?

Yes, I will be number 6.

A massive thank you to Beaubier for giving up his free time to speak to us, we wish him the best of luck for 2021.

Featured images – Brian J Nelson

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