By Jason Weigandt and Chase Stallo
Let’s face it: this 250 National Motocross Championship fight is between Marvin Musquin and Jeremy Martin. Since we’re studying these two so intently each week, we’re able to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each. Martin seems to excel when the going gets rough, while Musquin can utilize his precision to win on the more technical tracks.
Musquin let one slip away last weekend, though, as he appeared to be the fastest man at Muddy Creek, only to throw it away with a first-lap crash in the second moto. He wouldn’t make that mistake again at High Point, where he went 1-1 to retake the points lead from Martin, who, based on his usual standards, struggled in taking third overall.
“Obviously, when you go 1-1 it’s a perfect day, especially I had the fastest lap time in the end of practice, which was the first time this year for me to be the fastest in practice,” Musquin said in the post-race press conference. “I had a great feeling right away in practice. Bike was working good. Track was really nice, really rutted and soft, and really technical. So it’s great for me to have a track like that. Obviously, I had a great start in the first moto and tried to be smooth and pick my lines clean. I had a really good gap on the other riders. That’s the best feeling when you have a gap and you can control the gap and be fast.”
Musquin has had success in the Muddy Creek and High Point rounds before, winning the events back-to-back in 2013. He felt this year’s changes made the High Point track even more suitable for him.
“New layout, it was a lot more technical,” he said. “Those jumps down the hills and stuff, it was really technical and really challenging. It got really rough. Those braking bumps were huge and deep ruts. I really like this kind of track. It’s good to really use that kind of track to go 1-1. I have to do that for the championship, if I hope to win the championship.”
Martin didn’t have his best day; coming back from poor starts in both motos. Neither contender has proven immune to mistakes this year, and that’s why we haven’t seen them actually battle against each other through ten motos. Musquin’s wrist, in fact, is still a bit sore after his big crash at Thunder Valley a few weeks ago.
“On race day we’ve been taping it. It’s good,” he explained. “I’ve been struggling in some days, but obviously on race day we find a solution and able to get a good feeling in it.”
After letting the Muddy Creek win slip away, Musquin wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. “Second moto, I had to pass really quick. I didn’t get a great start, but I was able to get into second really quick, so I was happy about it. I was like, okay, it’s time to get into the lead quick and I had to win that moto. That’s what I did.
“Actually, Zach [Osborne] was riding really good behind me and he was pushing me. I knew it was going to be tough for him to hold that pace for the whole moto,” he continued. “It got pretty hot. I was trying to be smooth and be consistent the whole moto. And once again, as soon as you get a good gap on Zach I was trying to control that gap and win the second moto”
In this battle, not all days will be perfect, but Musquin knows perfection should at least be the goal on his best days. At High Point, such a performance was attainable, and this time he took full advantage.