Marvin Musquin is an unstoppable force through the off-season, it seems, as he has won each event that he has contested, no matter the format or location. Although his competitors stayed close in Paris this past weekend, he proved to be superior once again and ensured that the many French fans in attendance left the all-new U Arena happy. Our Canadian contributor, Steve Matthes, caught up with Musquin for a post-race chat.
Man, what a weekend and what an off-season for you. I was really impressed tonight. In the sprint race Cole [Seely] caught and passed you, you were struggling a bit and made some mistakes. Anytime that someone got close to you, outside of that, you picked it up and figured out where you were weak. I thought the race craft that you showed was great.
Yeah, thank you. It was a very challenging weekend. The track was tough. Those berms were definitely blown out; it was loose dirt with no ruts. It was very tough, to be honest. That turn before the whoops was super open and wide, so I was able to get inside or outside. I did not want to get passed there, so I went outside. Obviously no speed coming into the whoops and Cole was better than me, so he got me in that sprint race. He was definitely better than me in this race.
You picked it up and learned some things for that last main event. He was on you again and you managed to pull away.
Yeah, exactly. The starts were great and then he was behind. I skimmed the whoops again from the outside and the speed was a little bit better. I did not want to send it and risk crashing. No excuses, I was a little bit slower, but I got better in the main and then I started going inside again to be consistent and safe.
It seemed like inside, outside, jump, skim, left or right. There were six or seven different ways of doing it and you were trying all of them!
Yeah, exactly. That is good. Yesterday was only one line, the outside, and before the dragon’s back we were able to go inside. We need that. We do not want to see everybody going outside and in the same line.
Man, your starts were on point. Was there anything special or different that you were doing?
No, I like the metal gate. Obviously the traction was super consistent and the bike was working great. The starts were super important this weekend.
You have won this race before, but in Lille. We are back in Paris now. What do you like better and what are the differences? Talk about that a little bit.
This race has been in Paris for many, many, many years. For reasons they went to a different city, but now we are back and this is where it should be. We had a great weekend in a brand-new stadium. The fans were here – they showed up. There were 24,000 people and that is really good for a stadium here in France. Great, brand-new stadium and I am happy to win the first one.
I was talking to JMB about you a little bit. He said that it is different in the position that you are in now, because you are the man here. The pressure is on you and everyone wants you to win everything. You almost did, but do you feel that a little bit?
Yeah, for sure. I was disappointed when I got second. The crowd, they expect me to win, but this weekend the track made it super challenging and difficult. Those guys were sometimes better. I’m glad that I got the Superpole both nights. That was a tough exercise, but we got it done.
It looked like you picked a few different gate positions throughout the weekend?
No, not really. It was either the second one or third, but today I was on the second gate the whole time.
What an off-season for you! Monster Energy Cup, Red Bull [Straight Rhythm] and here. Man, it is pretty nice.
Yeah, it is and good for the confidence. I know this is not Anaheim. This weekend we had great riders, but I know Anaheim will be different. Last year was a great off-season too and it built confidence, so I am just looking forward to doing the same thing. That is the goal, build confidence, and then to go into Anaheim in good shape.
A little different engine design with the new bike and a little different frame. What do you like about it?
You know what, we are still learning. We raced Monster Cup, Red Bull Straight Rhythm and now Paris. We have done some testing, but I think we have got to do more. We are not ready for Anaheim yet. We are still working on the bike and that is what we have got to do until January. I am sure we can get better. We are still learning the new frame and all that.
Interview: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: KTM Images/Simon Cudby