Aussie champion Max Fricke will spearhead Leicester’s SGB Premiership title bid as he makes the move on loan from Belle Vue.

Fricke was strongly rumoured to have made the switch to the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena after images emerged on social media from the PGE Ekstraliga’s rider profiles for 2023, listing the Victorian star as a Leicester rider, with Great Britain star Dan Bewley named as a Belle Vue man on his profile.

Having spent this season with the Aces, Fricke was forced out of the SGB Premiership play-offs due to injuries sustained in the Polish First Division play-off final, in which he raced for Zielona Gora.

He was expected to return to the National Speedway Stadium in 2023, but with the Aces linked to Bewley, the Lions wasted no time in snapping up the Speedway GP rider and he joins GB star Chris Harris as a confirmed starter.

Leicester boss Stewart Dickson believes Fricke’s best is yet to come in the sport as he heralded the arrival of a man who he hopes will fire the newly-promoted side into SGB Premiership title contention.

He said: “There’s absolutely no doubt that Max is a big marquee signing for Leicester, and we’re delighted to bring him to the club. It’s great to get him on board and I think it shows a real ambition and statement of intent that we aim to compete in this league this time around.

“We were absolutely determined to land a rider of his calibre, and the fact that it was Leicester he wanted to come to as soon as he knew he wouldn’t be at Belle Vue was good for us to hear too.

“He’s already a world-class rider but I also feel at the age 26, Max’s best years are still ahead of him. Generally, nowadays riders take longer to peak. You don’t tend to see world champions at the age of 22, and we’re going to get a rider who is very hungry to achieve even more.”

Dickson also paid tribute to the Bates family, who own both their local club Sheffield and Leicester, for sealing the deal as the teams prepare to battle it out in the same league next season.

He added: “I’ve also got to say well done to the Bates family for getting him, which proves once again that they’re treating the Leicester team just as seriously as they are Sheffield.

“I never had any problems or doubts about that because they’ve always backed me in the three seasons that I’ve been here, when we finished top, third and top in the Championship. But I know that now we’re back in the same league, there are always going to be comparisons made.

“I must also mention Max’s manager Thomas Gaszynski. Our dealings have been very professional, and I look forward to working with them next season.”