He may not have made many friends at Gillette Stadium last weekend, but for Red Bull KTM Racing Team rider Marvin Musquin, it’s all about the win.
The crowd booed Musquin soundly after the French rider made contact with Eli Tomac on the race’s final lap. Musquin, who had led most of the race, made a mistake and gave up the top spot to Tomac in the closing laps. But in one of the track’s most wide open and rutted corners, Musquin made an aggressive move to try and reclaim the lead, and the two riders made contact. As a result, Musquin reclaimed the lead and took his third win of the season, while Tomac was knocked off his bike and had to settle for second place.
Musquin isn’t really known as an overly aggressive rider; his strong record over years of competition across the globe means he’s been able to keep it clean. As a teenager, he won the European Motocross Championship in the 85cc class and 125cc Junior World Championship. That eventually led to a factory KTM deal in the FIM MX2-GP World Championship, which he won in both 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, Musquin headed stateside full-time and spent the next five years competing on 250cc bikes in both Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Racing against many of the same riders he currently faces in 450SX, Musquin was a consistent top-five championship threat in both series, winning 10 Supercross races and the 2015 250SX East title and adding a best points finish of second that same year in Pro Motocross.
As if nearly taking both 250cc titles in the same year wasn’t enough, he even added the 2015 Motocross of Nations title with Team France.
Not bad for a guy coming back from a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2014 Supercross season.
Obviously, the time was right for a move up to 450cc, and so Musquin would move up to the top class as teammate to the spectacular Ryan Dungey in 2016. Musquin held his own as a rookie, taking seventh place and Supercross Rookie of the Year honors and posting even better results in Pro Motocross with third overall. He ended the year with his first Open class title in Red Bull Straight Rhythm, motocross’ answer to drag racing on a half-mile rhythm section in Pomona.
Musquin’s strengths had always been in his motocross roots, but 2017 saw him break out in the stadium format on the larger bike. A misstep in Atlanta 2016 cost him what would’ve been his first 450SX victory, but he finally broke through in Arlington 2017 for that elusive win. From there, the floodgates opened, and he capped off the year by becoming only the second rider to sweep all three main events in the Monster Energy Cup, collecting a $1,000,000 bonus for doing so.
Now, Musquin holds second in the Supercross standings with two races left in the season. Because he missed the second round of the season in Houston, his chances for taking that first 450SX title this year are remote; he’d need to gain 35 points on Jason Anderson in the next two weeks. Still, he’s got three victories and 10 podiums so far, and has only missed the podium once since San Diego.
But if there’s one thing we know about Musquin, it’s that he’s not going to settle for second—and with Pro Motocross looming on the horizon, that first 450cc title might not be too far off.