Joe Roberts started the Moto2 season with a seventh-place finish in Qatar.

MotoAmericans Joe Roberts and Cameron Beaubier were impressive in the opening round of the 2021 Moto2 World Championship at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, with the Californians finishing sixth and 11th, respectively, to open the season.

Italtrans Racing Team’s Roberts lost out on fifth place by just .641 of a second as he was beaten to the line by Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez after a race-long battle with the Spaniard.

“I’m happy with the results for the first race with the team,” Roberts said in a team release. “I think is a good starting point. Maybe we could have done another step and fight for the podium, but we missed it for just a little bit. Step by step we are getting stronger and I’m feeling great with the team. I’m happy we are making progress. We know how to improve for next weekend and I feel really positive for round two in Qatar.”

Beaubier’s performance was eye-opening, the five-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion qualifying 22nd and fighting his way through to 11th and earning 11 championship points in what was his Moto2 debut. Beaubier was just .347 of a second away from a top 10 finish in his debut as he was beaten to the line by MB Conveyors Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro.

Cameron Beaubier impressed in his Moto2 debut, finishing 11th after starting 22nd on the grid.

The race was won by pole sitter Sam Lowes on the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team by 2.2 seconds over Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Remy Gardner. An emotional Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Fabio Di Giannantonio rounded out the podium in the first race since the passing of team owner Fausto Gresini.