2009 Indy MotoGP: Beaubier Hits the Big Time

The Californian may be America’s brightest hope for future world championship success.

2009 Indy MotoGP: Beaubier Hits the Big Time

Two years ago, American teens Cameron Beaubier, JD Beach and Kris Turner were fighting for their lives in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, an eight-race spec series based in Europe and run in conjunction with MotoGP races. Expectations were high for the practiced Beaubier and Turner; Beach, plucked from the dirt tracks of his native Washington, was making his pavement debut.

Beaubier's strong performances—a victory in Germany and podium finishes in Holland and Portugal—led to an invitation from the Red Bull MotoGP Academy and an entry in the 2008 Spanish 125cc championship. Alberto Puig—a former 500cc Grand Prix winner who manages MotoGP contender Dani Pedrosa—heads the academy.

After a season spent in relative obscurity, Beaubier is now racing on the world stage, riding a factory KTM FFR 125 for Harold Bartol-led Red Bull KTM Moto Sport. A third-generation racer, the 16-year-old high school freshman scored his first GP point this past May in Jerez, Spain.

Beach and Turner, meanwhile, went in different directions. Beach returned to Europe for a second go-around with the Rookies Cup. Much improved, he won one race and the title. Victim of a topsy-turvy economy, he's had only spotty 600cc rides this season. Turner in 2008 put his efforts into WERA Regionals and Nationals with the occasional CCS/ASRA race to collect points toward an AMA Pro License. The Tennessee native also qualified for last year's rain-soaked 125cc GP at Indianapolis. He currently races an M4/Emgo Suzuki GSX-R600 in AMA Pro SuperSport. His best finish to date is fifth at Road Atlanta.

Combining luck with skill, Beaubier parlayed his Rookies Cup opportunity into a GP ride. With the 250cc class moving from two-stroke Twins to four-stroke 600cc inline-Fours in 2010, he may soon find himself competing once again with Beach and Turner.