For a rider who could spring a few surprises in the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship next year look no further than Standing Construct Yamaha’s Julien Lieber. The 20-year-old Belgian showed MXGP fans an overdue glimpse of his potential with impressive starts and front-running pace in the final two rounds of the 2014 campaign that were his first with the Belgian team.

It was a timely reminder of this short and stylish rider’s capabilities after a rocky two-year period in which he battled a knee ligament injury as well as a loss of form and direction and part of the factory Rockstar Suzuki Europe set-up.

The MX2 class will miss at least five of the previous leading elite in 2015 with the 23 age rule coming into effect for athletes who have all taken wins or podium finishes. It means the likes of Lieber, Maxime Desprey and other maturing talent will have the chance to continue their grand prix education at the sharp end of the field.


For Lieber the outings in Brazil and Mexico were a key revitaliser in his career after the lean stretch of results and now he is getting to grips with his third change of machinery in six months through Standing’s switch from KTM to factory-supported Yamaha equipment.

“It has been quite easy [to change] again but we’ve had to wait for the race parts so I have been riding a lot with the standard bike which is really good,” he said of the YZ250F that was radically redesigned for 2014 and won the AMA 250MX series with Jeremy Martin.

“I was able to take a lot of confidence from those races,” he adds reflecting on the Brazilian and Mexican trips that have put his name back in the hat for MX2 spoils in 2015 with the people such as Tim Gajser, team-mate Valentin Guillod, Dylan Ferrandis, Jeremy Seewer going up against the force that is Jeffrey Herlings.

“I could finally get a good start and have some consistency out of the gate. I had some decent speed but I missed better physical condition and was getting tired after about 15 minutes; that is something I am working on now.”

Lieber’s time with Suzuki was torrid and encompassed a season-wrecking knee reconstruction (2013) after he posted a sixth place finish on the RM-Z250 in Holland and looked set for further improvement. Supposedly diminished status in the team for 2014 in terms of technical support meant he was often overshadowed by rookie Seewer and barely figured in the top 10, up until both parties decided to mutually part ways by the time of the Belgian GP at Lommel.

“I had problems with the team and it started all the way back in January,” he commented. “I didn’t have confidence in them or the bike. I decided to stop and I was happy to find a place with Standing Construct. They asked me to do the last two GPs and I was happy to go.”

Lieber is likely to compete at the Valence International (France) in February only two weeks before the first Grand Prix of the championship in Qatar but could also make an appearance at the second round of the Italian national series at Montevarchi the previous weekend. The Standing crew still have some key dialling-in laps to run with the YZ250Fs and time is short…particularly with Lieber setting his sights high for the campaign ahead. “We still need to get some testing done as we have been waiting on more parts,” he said. “I think we have only done two or three days so far.”

“I’m looking to be in the top five as much as possible and also to the podium,” he claims. “Some riders have gone from MX2 but there are young ones coming up. It won’t be easy but that’s the goal.”