Michael Leib has been here, there and everywhere during his professional racing life.
He has had two short term rides for BUD Kawasaki and Dixon Yamaha as well as a difficult time with
Factory Husqvarna in GPs.
Injuries and illness have prevented him from being more of a force but he did show his potential
with a podium at the Italian GP last year.
In the USA Leib has been forced to race as a privateer on Honda but, this season especially, has still
produced some good results in supercross. But yet again injury meant aborting what looked set to
be an impressive season in the competitive west coast series.
Then, over Easter it emerged that Leib has finally found some stability on a good team and on a good
bike -but he won’t be racing in America.
Leib has signed for the Dutch Beursfoon Suzuki team for the rest of 2013 and, crucially, for 2014
as well. This gives Michael the chance to heal up and ease his way back into GP racing and build a
foundation for his assault on the MX2 class in 2014.
Preparation is the key to success and having stability is vital to building that foundation. Beursfoon
Suzuki are well aware that Leib has the potential to achieve top results and are determined to
provide his with a friendly family atmosphere both on and off the bike in the next two years.
They recognise the difficulty living in a different country and know that creating good living
conditions will be as important and providing a good machine.
The team are not the official factory Suzuki team but do have backing from Suzuki and if Michael
gets the results people expect it wouldn’t be surprising to see Suzuki offer even more help
We had a quick chat with Michael to see how he felt about the announcement.
So you are officially back in the GPs on Beursfoon Suzuki -when will you be racing?
Right now we are waiting on my arm healing up and then we are trying to make things work to come
and race GPs, I don’t really know when right now. I have only been on a bike once since A2 until now
but it was too much too soon. So right now it is play by play.
You had a taste of success last year with the podium in Italy, does that help motivate you?
Honestly that was a moment in my life that I will never forget and I just want more of them. I have
something to prove to myself and I want to put some events of the past behind me.
You had an awkward situation at the end of last year (losing his CLS Pro Circuit ride) you kind of
got robbed there a bit?
It was a mutual situation. We all came to an agreement and we shook hands after it. It was
unfortunate for sure for both parties but it was the way the cookie crumbled .
In America you were riding really well on a privateer Honda was that good yet frustrating that you
had to do it on your own with no support?
Honestly it was awesome. Anytime you get to come back with my dad, Rocket Exhaust, do it on
our own and beat guys in factory trucks I won’t turn that down any day of the week. I kind of wish
something would have come of it before I got hurt. But I just had a bit of bad luck but where there is
a will there is a way.
The crash wasn’t really your fault at all…
It was an unlucky situation, I had nowhere to go and basically just got hit. It was Savatgy that crashed
and then Sipes endoed into him actually funny enough it was Anstie that was to the side of me and
I think it was his bar that ended up breaking it. Nobody had anywhere to go in that situation, it was
just the way it was.
The US Nationals haven’t seen Michael Leib yet, is that something that you want to show people
what you can do there?
It is but only when it’s time. I have this year and next year to do something in the GP’s and I want to
do it. I want to do everything possible that I can next year to really chase it and go after it.
Living wise do you know where you will stay?
Right now we are just kind of looking at it, nothing is definite for 2014 yet.
It seemed difficult for you living in Italy, is that one of the hardest things to adapt to with a new
language and culture?
Yea it’s a culture shock for sure but I got on with it quite well. I learned to speak Italian and I have an
Italian background. Italy was actually one of the funnest years I had so just looking to have more fun
this year and maybe learn another language or two!
Interview by Jonathan McCready
Picture by Nigel McKinstry