Belgian teenager Julien Lieber has been snapped up by the Dutch Standing Construct KTM team for the remaining Grands Prix in Brazil and Mexico this year and also for the 2015 MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Lieber and Rockstar Suzuki Europe mutually ended their two year association recently and the rider did not line-up on the RM-Z250 with Jeremy Seewer and Glenn Coldenhoff at Lommel.
Team Manager and owner Tim Mathys decided to offer Lieber a deal – which will mean Damon Graulus is now looking for a saddle for 2015 – to run alongside to clear No.1 Valentin Guillod.
The Swiss has made a decent step from being 2013 EMX250 European Champion and gained his very first career Grand Prix podium in the Czech Republic almost two weeks ago. The 22-year-old is currently seventh in the MX2 standings with one more season left in the category. Guillod turned around his career thanks to a fruitful collaboration with former MX3 World Champion Yves Demaria.
“As a rider and person he is great,” enthused Mathys on his principal racer. “We’ve had decent relationships with the riders on our team but Valentin is such a good guy. For example after the second moto in Finland he finished seventh – which wasn’t too bad but not so great – and he sent me an SMS to excuse his ride and invited me to dinner…not many riders do things like that. He is a good rider, he is polite and he is social which is important for the sponsors. I am 100% happy with him.”
Mathys also credits the work done and the effect that Demaria has had on Guillod as well as pointing out that the efforts of the team to tune and get the most from the KTM 250SX-F has contributed to a satisfactory campaign.
It is a resurrection of sorts for the squad after their amalgamation with the factory Suzuki MX2 team last autumn fell through and they had to return to KTM machinery with which they helped Coldenhoff to British GP success in 2013.
“Valentin was European Champion but he had a reputation from the year before, in 2012, for being pretty lazy but Yves beat that out of him! He got on the bike in the winter and said it was too fast! So we had to change the engine and even during the season he is keen to test and make improvements,” added Mathys.
“Sometimes he wants things changed and we are unsure but we follow his wishes. I think it helps to give a rider a good feeling and confidence; it is the way to go for good results.”
The future for Standing is now slightly vague. There have been rumours of a change of brand to Yamaha with support from Yamaha Motor Europe but neither the team nor the manufacturer has released an official statement.