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Moto2, Joe Roberts: "America is like a giant waiting to be awakened."

Leading Californian in Moto2: "Hayden's 2006 was my biggest inspiration, I hope this result helps American motorcycling." Liberty Media and Trackhouse: "the American public can give as much as in F1." Now at 69 points with Onlyfans team: the universe is fun, now let's try to make history"

Moto2: Joe Roberts:

Joe Roberts is that guy you would expect to find on a California beach holding a surfboard, and you wouldn't be wrong, originally from Malibu he actually surfs. He plays bass guitar in that corner of America that saw the birth of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but in his veins from an early age runs the DNA of American motorcycling, the kind born on the flat tracks in the heyday of Schwantz, Rainey, Roberts, Lawson, Mamola... He has done it all, from the rookies cup to moto 2, and now after ups and downs he is there on the podium, for the third consecutive time since the beginning of the season.

He seems to have ended up there by chance, sitting next to a Fermin Aldeguer with his foot already in MotoGP and winner of the Jerez race, but the attentions of the few journalists in the conference room are all for him: the first American to lead the way in a world championship since the late Nicky Hayden back in 2006. With the inscription of the team 's main sponsor Onlyfans emblazoned on the bike's suit and fairing , and those 69 points in the standings, one wonders if this is irony of fate or a clever marketing operation. The rider has already thought about it, "the atmosphere around me has changed but not in that way," he will later reply with a hint of mischief joking about it and imitating a model pose, the mood is right.

The only American rider in all three categories, Joe Roberts represents a unicum in the paddock, that rare and almost extinct animal in motorcycling at the highest level today . His results, the fruit of path and hard work, could not have come at a more fruitful time for the star-studded future of the sport. The chance to rekindle that flame for two wheels in the hearts of Americans also weighs heavily on him.
"If I go back in my memories to that 2006, to the effect that what Nicky did had on me as a child, it was one of the most inspirational things in my life," he commented warmly at the end of the race. just thinking about the idea of being able to win a world title gives me goose bumps. I hope this achievement of ours does good for American motorcycling. I know there is a lot of talent in America, and it would be nice to be able to give them the same inspiration that I received, so that if they were to decide between motocross and track racing they would choose the latter."

The presence of a team like Trackhouse in MotoGP now represents a real chance for the U.S. rider to showcase himself and prove that American talent on two wheels is not just a thing of the past. With the arrival of Liberty Media having a star rider in the premier class now acquires strategic importance, the historical moment is definitely favorable.
"There are definitely a lot of interesting things happening in this last period, think of Liberty Media, after all what they have achieved with F1 has shown how much the American public has to offer in terms of fans, it's a gigantic audience, at COTA there was a full house. I think overall the only thing I can do at the moment is to keep doing well, the long-term goal for now is to win the championship, and more in the immediate term to win a race. We'll see what the future holds, but I'm thrilled."

The absence of Americans in world championships in recent years has been felt, and on some of the reasons Joe is clear, Americans need to rediscover their past to look to their future, but it will take time and the right stimulus.
"Since Hayden's time there haven't been many outstanding American riders, I've been struggling between ups and downs for a few years now, but of riders fighting for something important we have to go back to Nicky no? So it's hard to keep the enthusiasm up, but sometimes I think America is a sleeping giant waiting to be woken up," he then goes on to quote, as a history buff, the famous phrase uttered by Admiral Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This season, the U.S. rider seems to have an edge in terms of consistency and speed, and to journalists' curiosity about what has changed, he again catches everyone off guard with a smile.
"I've been training with juggling, I can really do it now, no joke, it's helped me improve my peripheral vision. Moto2 is a really strange class, if you don't have the right balance, the right people around, the right situation it becomes so easy to lose a tenth, or more, at every corner. I'm the same rider as always, the people around me have changed but also the tires. I love the new Pirellis, today I was able to brake hard, I had a confidence in corner entry that I didn't have before. Definitely this also had an influence."

The atmosphere around a rider is crucial, from the wisdom and expertise of technicians like the very good Mario Martini to the guidance of personalities like John Hopkins, now a former rider as a coach as well as a friend of Roberts.
"The environment around me has improved 100 percent, so much has changed. Until now I can say I've made my own path, I've been through a lot, over the years there have been positive and negative moments, I've learned some important lessons, but at the same time I knew that this is the year I couldn't afford to screw up anymore . It was time to get results, and I have all the tools and the best team I've ever had. The group of people I work with is an environment where you always have fun, you are never too serious, in the long run it can be heavy, we can sit down to dinner and joke around, with John (Hopkins ed.) who is always in the mood, he has a bunch of stories. Also from a technical point of view, the man in charge of my data has been working in the SpeedUP team for years and has a mountain of experience that has helped me in an area where I always had difficulties, it's nice to work with him and he gives me a lot of confidence. Also my chief technician, Mario Martini, who came to us from Italtrans last year. Already last season, which was not the best season, he started working on the bike and we improved from there. He knows me and knows what I need. It's strange, we arrived here in Jerez and despite the rain I had good feelings right away, but it's been like that all season until now."

But it has not always been all sunshine and roses, in the American's career there have also been difficult moments, such as the decision to leave the team last year, fate then made their paths cross again.
"To be honest I don't regret it, what life is without regrets? It was a life lesson and I grew from there. Besides, I would not have had the people I work with now instead. Of course at the signing of the contract we discussed it but my relationship with John has always been great, even when I left the team we remained friends. People are found for a reason, that's kind of our motto."

In the race Joe Roberts started 11th, with better qualifying perhaps he could have even won the race, but the American jokes about it.
"It's funny how the universe works sometimes.Today's race maybe I could have won it, but then I wouldn't have had that 69 in the standings. The world is a funny thing, let's see where it takes us. I knew I had the right pace for the race but qualifying had not been the best. The start of this year was great, as was the start of the season. So many good things have come, including people, the team behind me is great and I am happy with where I am now and coming to the races. The race was fun, I had this idea in my head to tuck in on the inside at the first corner and come out already fifth but it wasn't like that at all, in fact I went backwards but then I made some good overtakes. The third podium in succession gives me a lot of confidence, and it came on my mother's birthday, it was a good day."

Then, among the various differences from last year, a mention must also go to the new Pirelli tires, with which the American seems to be in very good tune.
"In moto2 there are things you don't do in Moto3, you slide in a different way on corner entry, the feeling on the front becomes more important. For me that front end feedback is important, I remember the first time I tried them in Barcelona after the race, at turn 5, I came in braking hard and I thought 'man, I'm not going to hold it,' and instead it held, it feels like you get to brake a little bit more so you can corner right at the last minute. This gives you the opportunity to play with the lines more, whereas in the past I had the feeling that no matter what I was doing, I couldn't change what I was doing, you had to brake in the same spot, open in the same spot, corner in the same spot, and if I got a couple of feet wrong it was over and I would lose half a second.The feeling is definitely better for me with these tires."

So the next goal is to take the first win, and Joe Roberts enthusiastically thinks he already knows where that will happen.
"F***, in the next race of course! I mean it, in Le Mans I took pole, I love that track, there's some hard braking that suits the bike, alternatively we go back to the classic flowing tracks like Barcelona and Mugello, the Italian one I think is one of the most beautiful tracks in the world. Every weekend we have the pace to fight, so now we try to make history."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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