1- Well the whoops were always thought to be a weakness with Marvin and they bit him this weekend while he was jumping through them. A few things for you- thoughts on Musquin’s weakness, was it too soon to be jumping through them as they were still big and can he tough this out with an injury or what?
We’ve discussed Marvin’s whoop skills for a while now. He’s had a difficult time skimming big or worn/cupped out whoops for a while now. Back to his 450 rookie year in 2016, in Anaheim 2 for example, as well as many other places. Often though, he gets away with jumping thru them. When he won in Dallas last year, jumping the whoops the way he did was an advantage. My philosophy is pretty simple when you’re a top 450 guy, you have to skim pretty much everywhere except a race here and there. Last weekend at A1, the set before the finish line was a skimming set all day until the main. Jumping in the 450 main was actually pretty good because he could go inside before them and jump them in 3 jumps. He got away with jumping them just like in Geneva SX last month. But, in A1, he started jumping them in the last practice. That’s way too soon. We saw in the heat race that jumping wasn’t fast enough. He was losing time in that section. It was only good in the main when they got rounder and the bottom of them got filled with dirt a bit more. He’s simply dreading whoops that get cupped out for some reason and he’s not comfortable skimming then when they become a bit sketchy. He doesn’t want to take any chances in them but I’m 100% certain that he has the technique and the potential to go thru them just fine. He will have to overcome that little fear he has of them though.
As for Houston, whoops were different because of the dirt. They were made with wet clay and got cupped out pretty bad. They didn’t get worn down like in A1. There were a lot of wheel impacts in them (from guys skimming) which made a bunch of holes/little curbs everywhere. When you jump whoops like that, it’s difficult to know what the bike is going to do in the g-outs with all those holes. That’s what happened when he crashed. He got surprised and got kicked bad. Before the crash in the heat, Malcolm Stewart passed him in the whoops 3 times in a lap and a half. Then, Brayton passed him in the whoops later too. That’s when he started jumping instead of finding the solution to skim faster. He’s Marvin Musquin, he shouldn’t get passed on the same obstacle 4 times in 5 minutes… As of his injury, I have no inside scoop like I didn’t have any on Tomac before Houston. We’re going to have to wait and see if he shows up and ride in Anaheim Saturday
2- Ken Roczen had the lead, got caught and passed which is weird but then again he’s been out so long that I guess this is a good finish….what did you think?
I think Roczen is on the right path. Most likely he wasn’t going to come out swinging like he did in 2017. He didn’t race for a year. I think he’s doing great and riding very smart. Since his first heat race of the season in A1, I can see he’s a bit rusty with guys around him. He’s riding style is a little bit different too. He’s more calm and less impressive to the eye even if his speed is really good. Maybe his arm doesn’t allow him to scrub the jumps sideways and ride super aggressive yet. I also think he’s lacking seat time in a racing environment with everything that go with it, pressure, other riders around him wanting to beat him while managing the effort of a 20 minute long SX moto.
He’s doing extremely well and better than I expected with everything that happened to him. I’m pretty sure if you would’ve told him he’d be 7 points behind the leader after 2 rounds with a 4-2 score during one of his 11 surgeries, he would’ve been pumped. He’ll get better and better at every race. His speed is right there and I’m ok with him taking it easy the second half of a race. He shows maturity, which will help him down the road. He’ll win a race soon…
3— And hey, Jason Anderson won! He looks much more calm and in control this year so far and could this be the start of a run or do you think this could be upset by 94 or someone else?
El Hombre is the rider who excites me the most. I love his will power and the fact he always try his best at any position. Tomac and Musquin opened the door wide open for him with their mistakes/injuries. Jason has to step in and put himself in a position to score the most points and win the most races he can. On paper, Eli and Marvin were a bit better than him. He was strong in A1 and even caught Marvin a bit. Maybe Marvin was managing his lead but still, Jason was riding well and never settled for 2nd. Today, I only see Roczen being a problem for Anderson. Barcia who’s riding his best in years isn’t there quite yet. Seely has the potential and riding abilities to be a spoiler but I question his fighting spirit and will to really win. He seems a bit too timid…
4- Aaron Plessinger…WOW!
Aaron’s ride was inspiring after being 10th on lap 1. He rode good in A1 too but McElrath, a West Coast track specialist, was very solid and fast. Houston’s track fitted Aaron’s style and riding skills very well. He’s known to be great in rutty conditions. It wasn’t the ruttiest track ever but it got tricky. He was very smooth in the sketchy whoops but the key was his lines. His flow was way better than anyone else. On the other hand for example, Savatgy was horrible at keeping his flow especially in turns and his line choices were highly questionable. The guys Aaron passed looked lost on the track compare to him. I didn’t think his ride was amazing, he just rode the track like it should be ridden.
I think his competition wasn’t very good Saturday. It’s often like that the first time of the season there are ruts on the track. But Aaron’s performance was good in a class where a lot of guys could win a main. You wouldn’t think someone would start 10th and win a main. Who again said the start was the key? Lastly, I loved Plessinger’s wheel tap 3 in the rhythm section after the start. That was very cobra-like haha
5- The sport is so brutal as you know…Eli, Marvin, Wilson all shoulder injuries just two weeks in. Big names also…is it the name of the game or is there something we can do. Also, talk about how bummed these riders must be after they put so much work into the off season.
There are always injuries in Supercross. It’s part of the game. We notice it more when the favorites get hurt. I feel bad for Eli and Marvin because I know the amount of work they put during the off-season to be ready. They both looked like they were prepared well coming into A1. It’s heartbreaking to be sidelined at the first and second race of a 17-race championship. Not only for the riders but for both teams and sponsors too. Crews work extremely hard to give the best equipment they can, not counting hours. Sponsors and companies spend millions for those programs. It’s a bummer for everyone involved in both Eli and Marvin’s programs. But, there’s nothing we can do. It’s sad to say but it’s 100% the fault of the riders for whatever reasons, lack of concentration or bad decisions.
In SX, a small brain fart or the smallest bad decision can be devastating. Trust me, been there, done that. I know exactly how both of those guys fell today. It’s like the sky fell off and we always ask ourselves the same questions in this situation, “Why me? Why now?”. But, as we saw with Roczen in the last year, bad dudes can reborn as the phoenix. It’s a bad moment to deal with but those guys will have the opportunity to fight for championships again…
6- What do you know, if anything, about the Musquin/Anderson relationship and why they’re not riding together?
I don’t know anything about a beef between Marvin and Jason. I just heard the rumor Anderson was leaving Aldon but he shot that rumor down right away on social media. I’m not a fan about two guys racing the same class and close in level to train together. Yes, it might help them push each other but it would be extraordinary if there wouldn’t be tensions at one point. I’m speculating because I don’t know what’s going on but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m also not a fan of Marvin and Jason being on the same program doing the same thing. They’re both so different and need to improve in different areas to be better. Aldon’s program is proven and hats off to him winning so many championships with his riders but it seems like it would be difficult to deal with riders going 1-2-3 at the races like sometimes last year with Dungey, Marvin and Anderson. Jordan didn’t practice nor train with Magic, neither did Brady and Manning. I’m just not a fan of group training. I like à-la-carte one on one training with a pinch of secrecy and a teaspoon of strategy…
7- Good track, you have to be a fan of it!
I’m a big advocate of long lanes in SX and I’ve been for decades. I think it makes for better racing. I wasn’t a fan of the start using only the width of the stadium and the 90 degree first turn. It’s a recipe for pile ups and the track has to cross the starting line too many times. Those 3, if you count the super fast dragon’s back, flat landings looked brutal too. I wish they would make the rhythm sections pickier to slow the riders down. The track looked very fast.
I’d also like to see the start using the length of the stadium with a 180-degree turn. If the start is longer, riders have time to spread out before the first turn and I think it’s safer. But overall, the track made some good races. At the end of the day, it’s the most important