Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin missed the entire 2020 Supercross season in 2020 but the Frenchman did return to the line however for the outdoor national championship, but it has been a while since the two-time world champion has lined up inside a stadium.
Musquin (who has an equally Sesame Street-worthy name as WorldSBK Texan Garret Gerloff) was seemingly struggling to find his grove on Saturday, that is until the gates dropped for the main event. Once the points were on the line things really started clicking…
“The heat was pretty rough I wasn’t feeling comfortable and I felt completely different to practice. I was a little mad and I ended up crashing, only qualifying eighth out of the heat,” said Musquin, speaking at the track.
“Then you go to the starting line and you have a bad gate pick and you just think it’s going to be a tough one. With the top guys all so close in speed a good start was key to success in Houston.
“I managed to get the gate by the box and I actually managed a great start. I was up front but I got passed right away. I was third or fourth and then I settled down. I was then able to pass Brayton back and Adam (Cianciarulo) back as well for third.
“I was super-pumped with my riding, I just wanted to be smooth and consistent for the rest of the main, I knew the two guys up front were gone. It was just amazing for a comeback and a first race.”
Musquin is typically a big fan of using overseas races in Europe to prepare for the Supercross season. Obviously, that wasn’t able to happen this year, which left the Frenchman a little worried about just how unpractised he would be on the Supercross circuit.
“To be honest I was a little bit nervous. I feel like in Supercross you have to be very precise and you have to race closer to the other guys compared to outdoors.
“But I was also super excited, and I just wanted to get out there and get the first one done. I’m going to get better with more racing, fitness wise, confidence wise, everything. So I’m excited to go racing again very soon.”
As mentioned, Marvin is a former two-time world champion and seasoned racer. He won his first world title well over 10 years ago now. He uses that experience to race his way back into fighting shape.
“Missing a whole season of supercross is weird. But we’ve raced for so many years, so when I got out there it didn’t feel too new. I’m still used to it. It’s just the fitness and the intensity that needs to come back. So that’s why racing multiple times in a week will be good for me.”
Despite having the most decorated trainer in the game and the fiercest riding partners out around, there is just no replacement for racing as far as Marvin is concerned.
“You do your motos at home but racing just always feels different to me. It’s the intensity and the riders. Even though I practice with good guys – Cooper and Zach – when you’re racing there are 20 other good guys as well.
“That’s why I feel like the racing will help me get better. I just need to be healthy and avoid little injuries because we are racing so many times in one week. I need to be consistent. It’s been a great start and we need to keep on going and get back to where we were.”
Musquin will look to build upon that third-place ride and stay consistent – much like his former mentor and teammate Ryan Dungey – as the days and weeks progress.