Interview With Red Bull KTM Supercross Racer Marvin Musquin

The French star talks about his preseason success, new bike, and the new race format

Marvin Musquin
Musquin and Tickle have been racing the just-revealed Factory Edition bike in all the pre-season races.Pete Peterson

Marvin Musquin had a very good year during the "normal" racing season—he finished third in the Supercross championship and took the Motocross championship to the final round and finished as second overall. Since then, in pre-2018 season racing, Musquin has had an outstanding year. He started big with a three-moto sweep of the Monster Energy Cup; that put a cool $1 million in his pocket. He followed it up a week later by winning the Red Bull Straight Rhythm (for the second year in a row) then became King of Paris and King of Geneva by winning those two supercross races.

These wins give Musquin a lot of momentum heading into the 2018 Supercross season, where he heads the Red Bull KTM team of himself and Broc Tickle. We spoke with Marvin on December 4 at the team intro, which was held at KTM's brand-new supercross test track, which the company built just a short block away from its headquarters in Murrieta, California. KTM also used the gathering to reveal its new 2018.5 SX-F Factory Edition, which Musquin raced under disguised plastics in the preseason events.

Marvin Musquin
Musquin has had a near-perfect pre-season, winning Monster Cup, Straight Rhythm, and the Paris and Geneva supercrosses.Pete Peterson

When was the first time you rode the new Factory Edition bike?
We tested it, I don't know when exactly. But I've been riding it since, I don't know exactly; we've done quite a bit of testing and I've been racing with it too.

When you first rode the bike, what level was it at in its development?
It was a prototype because they were working on it, so they didn't have all the parts on it… And then we got the full bike only a month or two ago so it's new. They've been working hard in Austria, and to get all the parts is a process and it takes a long time. Then to ship everything, it's tough. **

Marvin Musquin
The KTM even was to show off their new bikes, their racers, and their impressive new supercross track.Pete Peterson

You've had four major wins in the preseason this year. Were they all on that bike?
Yes. It was just the old plastic.

Was there a question about using the older tried-and-true supercross bike and settings, or did you know for sure the new bike was ready to go?
That's the bike that we're going to race for the championship so those are the races that are our practice and test for the new season. So we need to ride and race what we're going to race in January.

Marvin Musquin
Musquin always looks smooth.Pete Peterson

When you're trying to find your supercross settings on the new bike, does it help to have your fast teammates around?
Yeah, for sure. By yourself, you do try your best, but you never go over your limit [as] when there is someone faster than you. So it's good to have better riders. That's why we have a group like that, with Aldon Baker, it's good to have good riders. You push yourself for sure.

Marvin Musquin
Musquin is feeling good on the new bike.Pete Peterson

A lot of attention is on you to win this year. Does that help you or hurt you when you're on the starting line?
Well I just think it's really easy to talk about me because I've been racing and the other guys haven't been. I mean, Tomac was at Monster Cup, but a guy like [Ken] Roczen we haven't seen, so it's easy to talk about me. And that's why Roczen posted something [about a win at MEC is not telling as to who would win the championship the next year—something Roczen posted on Instagram on December 1]… I mean, it was the same last year. I raced those races and I won, so I'm used to it. But it doesn't change anything. Anaheim is Anaheim and the championship is a different story.

Marvin Musquin
Marvin was at the KTM event just a couple days after winning the King of Geneva title.Pete Peterson

But you have changes on your team. Do you have a little more pressure from your team like, "Hey, Marvin, you're the guy this year."
For sure, yeah. I've been dreaming about being in that position since I am a kid, so that's the best I could ask for. To be able to—if I want to win a championship, I have to be in that situation. So that's the best I can ask for and I'm going to use that as power.

Marvin Musquin
Musquin and the KTM team are ready for Anaheim 1.Pete Peterson

One last question. They're going to use the Monster Energy Cup format at three races this year [the three-moto format]. Are you happy about that, or do you think it's a bad decision?
I don't think it's bad or super good. I don't know, we'll find out. But, yeah, it's going to be like [one] overall [winner per night]. It would count for one main [win in] points. So I have to win everything; every [moto] will not count [for individual points]. So we'll see. We'll have to be smart and try to get the overall. It might be good for the fans too.