With the rain pelting the circuit all day and night long at the 2018 Seattle SX, the best riders on earth were falling and stalling everywhere and looking like C riders at the local track, but Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin was quite possibly the only rider who did not hit the ground one time. The #25 went with the slow and steady method all night long, and the Frenchman converted that game plan into a heat race win and a third place finish in the main event.
When you’re down a big number like 35 points with just five rounds to go in the Monster Energy Supercross Championship, you hope for nights like we had in Seattle to possibly cause problems for the rider you are trailing in the points. Anything can happen in the mud, and while we seriously doubt Marvin was wishing any harm on Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson, you know he would not have been upset if the #21 tipped over a few times or fried a clutch in the treacherous conditions. In the end, though, Jason finished just ahead of Marvin in 2nd and stretched that lead to 37 points with just four rounds to go.
After the racing was over, we caught up with Marvin to talk about his night in Seattle.
Marvin, third place tonight. You kind of rode by yourself for most of the main event.
Exactly. My starts were great and I stayed on two wheels the whole day—not even one crash, maybe because I was too cautious or too safe. My speed was decent, but in the main I missed some intensity, and the other guys were going really hard. I was sitting in third, and that’s all I got. I feel like a little bit too cautious and rode it safe to third place, but that was not enough.
I tweeted early in the main that you were going with the slow and steady pace and hoping that maybe Eli [Tomac] or Jason made a mistake that you could capitalize on. In this slop, that might not have been the worst plan.
Yeah, and that could have happened. They made a mistake in the heat race, in the main, but they rode it out.
In qualifying you were something like 10th or 12th fastest, but it looked to me like you were more focused on just figuring out what you could do in the mud as opposed to trying to lay down a fast lap. Is that a fair assessment?
I was actually not feeling really comfortable. You ride the whole year on dry and we kind of left the same settings that we had at the test track. We managed to change a little bit for the heat, and that was already better. In practice, I was pretty far back in 10th already, and obviously I was not happy with that. You got a heat win and a third place this week, but you always want more.
You’re from France and have obviously raced in your share of mud races, but this was different. Usually you guys can still find the power to get over some of the bigger jumps, but this slop was really robbing you guys of power.
The top was slick, but the base—kind of like Las Vegas SX two years ago—underneath was super super slick, just like not so much traction mainly in the rhythms and a lot of ruts. Maybe you can send it and do some doubles, but you would have to land it perfect in the ruts in front of you. It’s taking a lot of risks.
Did you ever contemplate taking any risks like that in the main to maybe get up there with Jason and Eli?
Not really. I was going over a couple of jumps, but like I said I just played it safe.
Four more rounds on the schedule and you’re now 37 points behind Jason in the Championship. It’s a big gap, but still not impossible.
Yeah, for sure. It’s possible. The same thing, I’m just trying my best every time, and we are in a good position with the team and myself physically. We’re enjoying being in that position and feeling 100% compared to where I was at the beginning of the season.
Watching the rain come down all day, it had to make you feel like tonight could be a night to close in a little on the points if Jason were to have any issues. It obviously didn’t happen for you tonight, but this mud definitely could have helped you out.
Exactly, but the other guys rode strong. I don’t want to find any excuses. It’s been a weird Championship with a lot of guys getting injured, but you gotta take opportunities and be here every time.
Photos by: Simon Cudby