Is the real the real Marvin Musquin finally in America?
After two wins and a bundle of confidence it seems that the Marvin Musquin is finally bringing his GP speed and confidence to the USA.
It has been a long and winding road for Musquin to get back to this form after injuries stopped him carrying the momentum of his World titles across to the USA.
It all went wrong for the Frenchman in Paris-Bercy in 2010 when he was leading on lap one of the main event. Marvin slightly mistimed a jump and caught his foot upon landing but he didn’t crash and rode for two more corners before pulling off and sitting at the side of the track.
It was apparent immediately that this was a serious injury and it was subsequently revealed Musquin had torn his ACL. This meant he would be unable to participate in the Supercoss series in the USA – one of the main reasons he was going there in the first place!
Musquin made his comeback at the US GP at Glen Helen in 2011. It was one week before the US national championship would start but it was clear Musquin was not the same.
While his 2010 rivals Roczen and Herlings speed off into the distance it was clear that they had got faster and Marvin’s injury had slowed him down. Musquin would get a sixth place in one of the motos and he hoped his speed would return the more time he got on the bike.
Musquin had a steady start to the US outdoor season but at round three in Freestone the crash happy Justin Barcia went down and his bike knocked Musquin off and broke his thumb. Marvin was out again.
He came back for the last couple of Nationals and did ok, but again he wasn’t quite the same rider. When he rode the MXDN that year in France he wasn’t on the same level as Roczen and it was there that you saw how tough the year had been for Marvin.
Finally in 2012 Musquin came in somewhat healthy, but by then the confidence wasn’t what it was when he was world champion.
That said he was in outside contention for the Supercross championship until a couple of crashes put him out of the running. In the outdoors it was much the same as Musquin tried to come to terms with the pin it to win style of racing in the USA.
He did win an overall, although it was on the slow and more technical Unadilla circuit, and he began to show glimpses of the form that took him to many GP wins but something was still missing – confidence.
Marvin is a very nice and humble person and in some ways this may have held him back. You feel he needs to win before he believes he can win. Once he started to win in the GP’s he was hard to beat and brilliant to watch and he dissected each track in his own way.
Indeed in 2009 at the MXDN Musquin won everything in the MX2 class including timed practice, the qualifying heat and both races. When asked about the American’s racing there Marvin confidently replied that you always hear the Americans are better but for him the race was just like a GP and he went 1-1.
That self –belief was understandably eroded away and when you face injures, living in another country and racing American’s in their backyard all at once – that is a lot to take in and deal with. And it is even harder to maintain that self belief when you are a humble guy like Musquin.
At the MXDN in 2012 Musquin was battling with Russian Alexander Tonkov while the MX2 GP regulars sped away from him. In 2009 Musquin won the Lommel GP, now he couldn’t keep Jeremy Van Horebeek and Glenn Coldenhoff in sight – nevermind Roczen and Herlings.
Of course you need time in the sand and Marvin had been away for two years but it still must have hurt the Frenchman, who didn’t look the same rider that he did three years prior at the same track.
However, Musquin came into the 2013 supercross season healthy with even more determination and he now had a season’s experience in AMA supercross.
He was one of the favourites and qualifying times showed that he deserved to be, but in the first couple of races things didn’t go his way, mostly because of bad starts.
Musquin is a nice guy, he doesn’t want to ride aggressive and sometimes that hurts him in supercross especially if he gets a bad start. On a clear track Musquin is one of the best around and at Daytona he finally showed everyone what he is capable of.
In one of the most prestigious supercross races, Musquin executed a perfect holeshot and rode away to a 12 second dominating win! The track was the toughest on the circuit and it suited Musquin perfectly.
Musquin loves rough and technical tracks where technique and intelligence are more important than raw aggression. Roger DeCoster may have been surprised but this really was a perfect Musquin track. It was great to see Musquin ride like he can and to see someone who has had a tough couple of years be rewarded for his hard work with such a brilliant victory.
Last Saturday night at Indy Musquin won again. It was a totally different victory with Musquin coming from last to put the pressure on leader Blake Wharton on the last lap. Wharton crashed and Musquin inherited the lead to take his second win in row.
It had been three years since Musquin has won two in row and you could tell even by the way he was coming through the pack that this was a new confident Musquin. He knew he could win, he knew he was the best rider and he made it happen.
Musquin is now only nine points back from lead Wil Hahn but whether he wins the championship or not hopefully Marvin can remain injury free and ride to his potential for the rest of the season.
Because when Marvin Musquin is on form he is amazing to watch.
Article by Jonathan McCready
Picture By S.Cudby/KTM Images