Racer X: Marvin, your first national outdoor motocross win this year. It has to feel pretty good coming at Southwick.
Marvin Musquin: For sure. From the beginning of the season, we’ve been working hard and feeling pretty good. Obviously, the last two or three races I’ve been feeling great and pushing towards the lead and battle for the win. So that felt good. This weekend, obviously, it’s the only race in the sand. I felt pretty good all day. It does feel good. Obviously, we know what happened in the second moto, but a win is a win.
Eli, moto number one, take us through that. That was a moto win, but man, it actually literally came down to just about the last lap.
Eli Tomac: Yeah, moto one started a little too far back there for where we wanted to be. Just had to go forward. Made it to the top three guys and made a few passes. Got close to Marv there with two to go as we made the pass. It was a long race for eating sand that whole time, but that’s just part of the game. That was good. Made a little change for moto two, but you know how that went.
Justin, moto one, you were able to lead for a bit up there. This track has been good to you. You find yourself on the podium once again.
Justin Barcia: Yeah, for sure. I led a few laps today. Didn’t have the greatest starts but made the best of it in the first couple laps sprinting. The track was difficult today. It was hard. I struggled quite a bit, just line choices. All in all, happy to be on the podium, but definitely like I’ve said in the past, kind of want more, expect more out of myself. But it’s good to be on the podium.
Eli, the second moto now—I didn’t even see the second one. I’m looking at the leaderboard and it switched. I actually thought it was a snafu the way it was going. Take us through moto number two.
Tomac: Moto two, I was just doing my thing up front and jumped a little bit too far into the holes over that one roller on the hill there and washed my front end out. Kind of went over the bars weird and knocked my clutch lever down. That’s what really screwed me up. I was able to get going, but the clutch lever being stuck down is what really balled me up at that point. Then the second one was just a tip-over, a little bit caused because I couldn’t grab my clutch. That was part of it. I felt like I was in control, but I guess I wasn’t. I went a little deep over that hill and into the bumps and that was that.
Marvin, what was your take in moto two when you came around and saw that Eli was off the bike?
Musquin: Well, I was just trying to be consistent. Obviously, the intensity wasn’t quite there. I was trying, but I knew it was going to be a long moto. Definitely Eli was pulling away. Not much I could do at this point, only to stay consistent and keep pushing. He made a first mistake and then the second one, so I was able to capitalize on that. My goal was to, like I said, be consistent, stay on two wheels. It was definitely the hardest race of the year so far, definitely. It was hot and it was really rough on that track. I’m glad it’s over and we had a good day.
Justin, last week you talked a little about trying to change up your style some. What are you working on? I think the team’s always trying to get you to maybe rev a little less.
Barcia: For sure. This is going to be my first full year on the new Yamaha and I’m just trying to fine-tune myself to gel with the bike better, and that’s not revving as much. I get better at it. It’s not necessarily revving, it’s just shifting the bike more. I had a tendency to kind of hold it in gears and I rev out. Definitely been working on that a lot. Using the clutch a little bit less. I like to pop the clutch pretty hard in the corners sometimes. I just get excited and give it everything it’s got. I’ve just been working on things like that. If I can fine-tune that stuff better, it’ll obviously bring speed and speed brings me closer to the front.
Eli, on days like today, trade wins and seconds. You missed the overall, and I know you hate not winning, but you still walk out of here happy that the points lead is still where it’s at? You didn’t lose a bunch of points? What’s your take on it?
Tomac: Yeah. Big picture, it’s all good, but this is like the one track of the year I’m like, that place is mine. So that way, I’m pretty gutted the way that second moto went.
Barcia, you told me today you were working on some things with the bike not specifically for this track. Is there stuff you can learn here, or is it so different that you’re not sure what it means for the other rounds?
Barcia: I think I learned some stuff today, yeah. Struggled in the first moto. Made some changes for the second moto. It was a little better. But like I said, I’m learning and the team’s learning. We’re getting better for sure each weekend, which is good. I think we learned some stuff today. I’m going to take some of my suspension home with me from this race and try it on a normal track and see if it is the direction we’ve been wanting to go. Definitely can learn some stuff here. Unfortunately, this track is not like it used to be. It used to get those big rollers and you could rhythm stuff and stuff like that. Now it’s just high-speed chop and pretty gnarly. It used to be fun for me. Today it was not that much fun. It was very difficult.
What is the last ten minutes of the second moto like? How bad is it?
Barcia: First moto wasn’t too bad. Second moto was difficult. It’s hard to get a good flow on this track. Like I said, I used to be able to get that good flow, but it’s really difficult to get that flow because it’s just that slick, sandy base, kind of. It’s kind of funny. There’s not huge, big bowl corners anymore. The last ten minutes of the second moto, it was tough because the track was really rough and it was hot today.
Marvin, is it ever tempting to settle a little bit and Eli’s got a big lead, and then you realize, if I was three seconds closer to him after the first crash, I would have taken the lead? Were you letting go at any point, or were you pushing the whole time? Or when you got to him, you were like, I wish I was one second closer?
Musquin: For sure. That’s kind of what I thought the first time. I was like, “Man, I could have maybe tried at least to push a little harder.” But anyway, that’s the way I was riding. Like I just said before, the intensity was not quite there. I was riding okay, but I was a little slower, obviously, and losing ground. Obviously, those mistakes he made, that helped me. Like they said, it was definitely a tough track. The base was actually hard here on the insides. It was actually really slippery. They didn’t build big berms on the outside, so it was a lot of insides. It was a lot of high-speed stuff, really choppy. We didn’t have big rollers and deep sand, actually. You could hit some square edges and stuff. Definitely a tough track.
Marvin, how were you feeling between motos? You were pushing so hard in the first moto, all the way to the last lap and you had a crash. Were you feeling like you normally do going into moto two, or were you a little more spent than usual?
Musquin: Like I said, it was the hardest race of the year for sure so far. It was hot and it was sandy and rough. Definitely spent some energy on that first moto. I was definitely bummed to get passed like a lap or two to go. But we gave everything we had. Then I went down on the very last lap, so it was definitely not easy. Then you go to the podium and it takes quite a time to get the interview done and you’re cooking right in the sun and you know you got to do a second moto only a couple minutes later. So that’s definitely the hard part of racing here in the U.S. We don’t have so much time, but it’s the same for everyone. If we can be really strong, that will help.
Since we lost the off-week at High Point—since then, you’ve been much better. Where do you think the difference is?
Musquin: I don’t know. Just a little better setup with the bike. Just the training we’ve been putting on in Florida. Just doing the work, gaining confidence, building endurance and strength. Been feeling pretty good. Obviously High Point was awesome. Muddy Creek could have been awesome, too, and this weekend was good.
Frenchmen won both classes. That’s pretty cool.
Musquin: And the soccer game, too!
So a pretty good day. Comment on that.
Musquin: I just told Dylan we couldn’t watch the second moto of 250, then we got on the gate for second moto. I could see him on the podium and he won the overall. I was like, wow, that’s awesome. I got to do the same thing. I was telling Matilde, I don’t think I ever got on the podium here. I got to check. It’s pretty awesome to get a podium and a win. Congratulations to Dylan. It’s a good day.
Eli, did you say that the first crash in the second moto, did that mess up your clutch lever a little bit? Was that a bit of a problem that kind of hurt with the second crash?
Tomac: Yeah. It knocked the clutch down and it was tough to grab it at all. I’m half blaming it on the second crash.
But overall, you still happy with the riding, even though it didn’t work out results-wise?
Tomac: Yeah, I was riding a lot better in the second moto. I just crashed.
What did you do on the first lap? We had you like tenth and then you were third, like, instantly. Where did you make those moves? It was almost too quick to even see.
Tomac: I don’t know. That’s how much better my bike was between one and two. I was able to just go where I wanted to.
Eli, you have a big fan base here at Southwick. You’ve built that up over the years. Does that do anything for you when you come here?
Tomac: Yeah. Any time you got the cheers it drives you to go out there and do your thing. It’s been cool to build a good base here. We’ve had good results here in the past.
We’re heading to RedBud. This is going to be a chance to not only look at the track for the national, but a chance to look at it for possibly Motocross of Nations. Justin, what’s your thoughts heading into this week?
Barcia: I like Red Bud. I’ve had good motos there. I’ve won the overall there. I’ve beat good guys there, so I know I can do it. I’m excited for it. I’m looking forward to it. I think that’s probably the best track on the circuit nowadays. Definitely going to bring my A-game and do my best and try to give these two a fight for the win.
Tomac: I like RedBud. It’s big. It’s got the room. No excuses for passing. It’s got the wide track. It has good soil. Looking forward to it.
Musquin: It’s always special to go to RedBud. I’m excited. It’s Fourth of July week, so it’s always very special, like I said, to go to RedBud. We always have a lot of fun. If we can do good at the end of the day, it’s even better. The track’s awesome. Like Eli said, it’s got room and lines and a lot of jumps and awesome dirt. Great for racing.