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Moto2, Joe Roberts: "MotoGP? until I have a proposal I will think about the title"

"The paddock likes to speculate, interest in having an American in MotoGP is growing and there is a lot of pressure on me in that regard. I have a chance to fight for the title and I will focus on that. The victory at Mugello? a great emotion, the tears were there but they were covered by my smile, I won by fighting."

Moto2: Joe Roberts:

While on the one hand in MotoGP the rider market is not sparing us rumors, denials and twists, in Moto2 there are those who would prefer it to be talked about only at the end of the day. Joe Roberts, the American rider of the OnlyFans team, currently second in the championship standings with 115 points, 7 behind Spaniard Garcia, is of the latter opinion. Fresh off a sprint victory at Mugello, the young Californian is in fact in the whirlwind of rumors that for months have put him on a saddle in the premier class by 2025.

There is no shortage of reasons to think so after all, from the arrival of the Trackhouse team as an Aprilia satellite, to the arrival of Liberty Media, which acquired a majority share from Dorna at the beginning of the year. The media return and the luster for the U.S. market would be a valid calling card that would justify such an operation, but it is undeniable that the last word still remains with the teams, tasked with making a decision that is not easy. For the American, the most likely option would therefore seem to be Aprilia, which currently still sees one of the two factory bikes available after Vinales' farewell: one of the options could be to promote either Oliveira or Fernandez and thus free up a seat in Trackhouse. Of the rest, however, MotoGP has no shortage of riders looking for better luck; in fact, Miller and Augusto Fernandez, recently freed by KTM, are on the hunt for a seat, but an Italian name like Bezzecchi could also appeal to the Noale-based manufacturer, thus effectively closing the door to new entries in MotoGP. As he waits to know his future, Roberts prefers not to be distracted and to focus on results, in what is proving, results in hand, to be his best season since his arrival in Moto2.

At the end of the Mugello GP, the enthusiastic American commented on his victory thus:
"I had won a race before but it had been a strange race, this one wasn't - joked the young American - our strategy for the short race, talking to the team and John (Hopkins ed.) was clear, there is no better start than from a pole here at Mugello, at the start you are exactly where you need to be. All weekend we worked a lot on launch control to get a good start, and I think it was the best of my career to be honest. Initially I tried to push from the very first laps to gain ground on my rivals but it was not possible. At that point I found myself in the pack, got my elbows out and started fighting with overtakes while trying to manage the tires for one last push in the final laps. In the last stages of the race I felt very strong, the tire management work paid off, and then there was that very hard-fought last lap, it was fun. I've seen so many races here at Mugello, epic battles. Winning with a lead is nice, but winning by fighting until the last corner is definitely better, that's what the fans basically expect to see."

The reaction from your pit box at the finish line was incredible, John was visibly excited.
"I always wondered what I would have felt if I had won, if I would have cried. Definitely I felt a strong emotion when I got on the podium, the tears were starting to fall but the smile was so wide that it covered them - he joked again - winning is an indescribable emotion, it's my first victory this season, and earlier joking in the box with the technicians I told them that if I see another second place I will go crazy!" he jokingly continued.

Tell us about that duel with Gonzalez on the last lap.
"Initially when he caught up with me I was surprised because I thought I had set aside a few tenths of advantage, I thought 'there's no way he did the last corner so bad!, but maybe I did,' he got really close and at that point in the race I knew the tire was at its maximum grip, especially in acceleration, I think Manu had a little moment in Turn 2 and I took advantage of it."

Your strong point seems to be corner entry.
"I've actually always enjoyed a very good feeling on the front, which is exactly what these Pirellis have brought me this season. When you get a good start and stay in the front, then you can focus on managing the tires."

What was your reaction when you learned that the race would be shorter?
"One of the critical issues of the weekend was just managing the tire wear. This short race reminded me of the times I used to race when I was a kid in California, even there it was 12 laps and the only concern was opening the throttle, today it was something like that! " he jokes again.

In the past you did not accept the offer to go up to MotoGP with Aprilia, because it was not the right time to take that step. Do you think after this victory that time has come?
"Definitely the win could help. The wins, the poles, the podiums, these are all things that people who make these decisions look at well. On this issue I feel a lot of pressure on me this season, because this season I am doing good results. I don't want to think too much about that, I've been racing in this category for a few years now, and this year I have a chance to fight for the title, so now I will focus on that. As for my future, clearly the interest in having an American rider in MotoGP is growing, but we'll see what happens."

How difficult is it to maintain focus with all this talk about the future?
"You should ask my brother, he's right next door! - he then responded with irony - the fact that we start talking about the future already at this point in the season certainly can be a disruptive element, but I've been working a lot on my mental strength, also thanks to the people next to me. I prefer not to think about it until I have a proposal in front of me, the paddock likes to talk and speculating is normal. I have people to take care of it, so I can focus on my work as a rider."

Do you already know how your main sponsor, Onlyfans, will celebrate the victory?
"I don't know, I guess they will make a nice post saying great job!" the American rider concluded with irony.


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