MotoGP Qatar: Poleman Roberts ‘looking forward to the fight’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Joe Roberts today became the first American to take a Grand Prix pole position since Ben Spies at Indianapolis in 2010 and the first in Moto2 since Kenny Noyes in the same year.

The Californian set a new outright lap record which he has to share with Luca Marini as the two both set a 1’58.136 - Roberts gets the pole by virtue of having a better second lap on the board - which was better than the record he set yesterday.

“It’s crazy. I wasn’t sleeping too much last night thinking about this lap, just trying to imagine myself doing the perfect lap,” said Roberts, speaking at the track.

“It’s amazing to have my first pole, this weekend is filled with firsts. Now we have the race to come, another job to do and I am looking forward to starting from pole, it’s so cool.

It’s one thing doing a lap, it’s another doing 20 racing. I’m going to try and get the best start I can and just try and stay with these guys. I’m looking forward to the fight.”

Roberts’ American Racing team switched from KTM to the favoured Kalex chassis this year and that, along with a new crew chief and the wheeling-in of John Hopkins as a rider coach, has made a huge difference.

“A lot has changed, we have a great bike, the Kalex which has won the championship many, many times and a bike that I have wanted to ride for a long time,” said Roberts.

“Not only that, I have a new crew chief, Lucio Nicastro who has statistically given all the riders he has ever worked with their best-ever seasons. So I am glad I can do him proud on that.

“We have John Hopkins too coming on board who has a wealth of knowledge and has been able to pass on a lot of things to me and I wouldn’t be here without him.

“We have worked a lot together and him being out at trackside seeing the certain things I needed to improve on. Also just keeping it fun, you know, keeping it fun in the box and having a good time. Realising that this is a dream and we are all living it. It’s great.”