Julien Lieber will join Clément Desalle on the Monster Energy Kawasaki team in 2018, the team announced yesterday. Lieber, who turned 23 in June, is required to move to MXGP next year due to the under-23 age rule in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
After missing all of the 2016 season due to surgery on both hips, the Belgian returned to MX2 in 2017 under his own privateer effort and has earned five podiums, including one at his home Grand Prix at Lommel last weekend.
Currently fifth in the MX2 standings, Lieber was named a member of Team Belgium for the 2017 Motocross of Nations. He was last a member of the team in 2015 when the Red Knights finished third overall behind France and the United States.
“Coming back to racing this season, one of my goals was to get a top ride for the MXGP class, and I’m so happy to have achieved that,” he said in a team statement. “Joining the main class with such a professional team is like a dream, and for sure I will do my best to get strong results. There’s a lot of top riders in MXGP, but I already trained and raced on a 450 a couple of years ago and I think that this class will suit my riding style; I’ve ridden a 250 for seven years now, so it really is the right moment to move up and you can’t do it in a more professional team than the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team. I’m also happy to be teammate with Clément; we already have a good relationship and I’m sure we’ll work closely together.”
With Lieber announced as a second rider for the team, it's expected that Jordi Tixier will not return in 2018.