By John Basher
What has been the single most important reason for excelling in this year’s 250 National series? First of all, this is my very last season in the 250 class. I have been on the 250 for many years, so I have experience. This year I’m finally healthy for the full season. I won a 250 Supercross championship, so there’s confidence involved with doing that. I also made changes in my program with Aldon Baker. Of course the 2015 KTM 250SXF Factory Edition came out, and the brand new bike has been great. Those things really helped me get better this year.
What were the residual effects from your first moto crash at Thunder Valley, and how long were you hampered by injury? It was a big crash in Colorado, and I was very luck that I didn’t get hurt too badly. I think I finished 14th in that moto, so I lost a lot of points, but it’s racing and anything can happen. When I look back at it now, the crash was very frustrating. I left a lot of points on the table. Fortunately I was able to race the second moto. The following week I went to the doctor and had some scans done on my wrist. We could see that the bone was badly bruised, and I also stretched a ligament quite badly. I was working hard to let it heal, so on race days the wrist wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately I re-injured it right before Red Bud. [Note: the results prove as much, because Musquin went 4-6 for sixth overall]. I had to take a full week off the bike to let my wrist heal. It has been a crazy. The wrist hasn’t been as good as I would like, but things have been good.
Budds Creek looked like it could have been a disaster. You went down the first moto and finished seventh, but then you rebounded by winning the second moto. The weather in Crawfordsville on Saturday looks clear, but you know how bad things were last year in the rain. Would you consider yourself a good mud rider? I’ve been in America for five years, and in that time I haven’t ridden much mud. European riders are known for riding in the mud, because the weather is so bad all the time over there [laughter]. When it’s muddy in the U.S. we really don’t practice in the mud, even though we’ll race in the mud. Riding well in the mud is all about technique. I wasn’t good in the first moto at Budds Creek. Unfortunately I had a crash with another rider. Then everything went so much better in the second moto. I’ve realized that motocross is like that. I was a different rider in that second moto. When everything goes well then you feel good in your mind and also on the bike. It’s hard to be consistently feeling that.
It’s obvious that team tactics were used last weekend in Utah when Cooper Webb let Jeremy Martin by in the second moto. Does it feel like you’re not only fighting Martin for the title, but also having to deal with his teammates, Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger? What’s your plan? The goal is to get good starts, run away from everyone, and stay out of trouble. I do think about the other guys, but I know how it is. It’s part of the sport, and everyone should be able to understand that. Naturally the team wants to win the championship, so they’ll ask their riders to help a teammate. It would be the same at every team. Unfortunately I won’t have a teammate in Indiana, but I can’t complain. I do know that team tactics will be used. I saw that happen this past weekend. Those guys [Webb and Plessinger] will race Martin differently on Saturday than they did at the beginning of the series. I just need to be smart.
Next season you move to the 450 class. Are you looking forward to the change? I’ve been on a 250 for a long time. I like to have more power and ride a bigger bike. I feel that my style is suited well for a bigger bike. I’m also excited to stay with the Red Bull KTM team. It’s the best team out there. I know everyone on the team, and I’m familiar with the bike. Next year should be a lot of fun.
Next month you’ll be representing Team France at the Motocross des Nations. A lot of people believe that it has been a long time coming for the French federation to select you to the team. Do you have any bitterness towards the federation for waiting so long to pick to you to the team? It’s a dream and a goal for every single rider to represent their country for the Motocross of Nations. Like you said, I’m finally on the team. I do understand where the French federation was coming from. They are over in Europe and so they see the French riders on the Grand Prix circuit. They’re not watching French riders that compete in America. Of course I feel like it’s easy to say that I’m better than someone else, but it’s hard to really know because those guys were also doing well on the GP circuit. We never compete against one another. American and Europe are different. However, winning the Supercross title and battling for the 250 National title has made things different. The French federation finally wanted to take me. I feel like I really deserve the spot this year.
On paper, France seems to have the strongest team heading into the MXDN. Gautier Paulin and Romain Febvre are great riders. Gautier has won many races, including last year’s MXDN. Febvre is leading the point standings in the 450 GP series. I think that we’ll have a great team. Add in that we’re racing at home, and it should be an amazing experience.
Can you describe the Ernee track, which is where the 2015 edition of the Motocross des Nations will be held? It’s probably one of the best tracks for the fans. They get to stand on one side of the hill, and you can see 100 percent of the track. For the racers, it will be great to see so many people standing on the hills and cheering on the different countries. I actually raced my very first GP there in 2007 or 2008. I won the overall in 2009, so I have fond memories. Since then they have changed the design of the track somewhat, but it’s mainly the same. The dirt can be hardpack, but it shouldn’t get as hard as St.-Jean-d’Angely. It’s a really nice track, and I’m excited to race there.
Thanks for your time, Marvin, and good luck on Saturday. Thanks, John. I’m looking forward to what’s to come. See everyone at the races.