KTM privateer Julien Lieber leads the MX2 world championship after finishing third overall in the shortened Indonesian MXGP. Race two was axed with seven minutes still remaining due to the deep mud, but as the race had run more than 51% of its distance, the results stood.
It’s the first time a privateer has led the world championship since Marvin Musquin did it on a Honda in 2009. He was snapped up by the KTM factory team instantly and finished the season for them.
Belgian Lieber, who sat out racing for 18 months due to injuries, took third overall in the season opener at Qatar and was again third overall in Indonesia at the new Pangkal Pinang track.
Overall winner was Jemery Seewer, who won the opener after early leader Pauls Jonass got stuck in the mud. Seewer was second in the final moto, which was won by TM’s Samuele Bernadini by a huge margin.
Initially it had seemed the results weren’t going to count, which would have robbed Bernadini of his first GP moto win and Lieber of the world championship lead. But this was soon corrected and both men were the surprising heroes of the dramatic mud race.
Lieber, 16th on the first lap of the opener, pulled back to a stunning third place behind winner Seewer and holeshot man Davy Pootjes, with Brent Van Doninck fourth from Benoit Paturel and Thomas Kjer Olsen.
Brit Ben Watson took ninth while world championship leader at the start of the day, Pauls Jonass, was 14th – just in front of Conrad Mewse. Adam Sterry failed to finish.
The second race saw Bernadini storm to victory by over a minute and a half from Seewer and Brian Bogers, with Lieber fourth from Kjer Olsen and Adam Sterry sixth and Ben Watson seventh, both having storming rides. Jonass was 25th, one place behind Mewse.
The overall saw Seewer win from Bernadini, Lieber and Kjer Olsen, with Watson eighth and Sterry 10th. Lieber now leads the series on 78 points from Seewer on 72 and Paturel on 71.