Photo by Rich Sheppard
Yesterday, the French Federation announced the line-up for the 2018 MXDN which will take place in Red Bud. It obviously came as a surprise that the best french rider of the moment on any continent, Marvin Musquin, was left out. I was only half surprised because that stuff happened in the past and I even on the short end of the stick once. After my great rookie season in the US, winning 4 SX races, 2 Nationals and even leading the MX Championship after a few rounds, I was also left out. When you listen to the explication of the French Federation president, Jacques Bolle, you learn that Gautier Paulin was never a question. He was in the team no matter what. The choice for the second 450 rider was between Musquin and Febvre. With their reasoning if they build the team around Paulin, you still have to chose Marvin over Romain. Romain is doing ok in the GPs but Marvin is a better choice. Marvin wins motos in the US. No french guys came close to win a moto in the GPs this season. All the motos were won by Herlings and Cairoli but 1. 1 moto out of 30 so far went to a rider other than Herlings or Cairoli. It was Desalle in Russia.
With all those facts, you still have to pick Marvin over Romain. The excuse the Federation gave is that they estimated Marvin wasn’t as motivated as Romain for the event. That’s a bunch of crap. Marvin has been saying for weeks he wants to race MXDN. Let’s not forget, Marvin won Red Bud this year. You don’t take the best French rider of the moment who won the race on the track the MXDN will take place. Are they that stupid? But for me, the biggest error is to have Paulin in the team. I understand he’s been on the team since 2009, won 4 MXDN but he’s not as good as he used to be. He just went 13-13 in the last GP and got lapped in both motos. His last 6 moto scores are 5-11-6-6-13-13 in the last 3 GPs. The “rule” is to take the best riders of the moment. Paulin is just not doing good right now. The choice for the 3rd guy should’ve been between Febvre and Paulin for the Open class spot. Marvin should’ve been locked in. And if you want to have the best 3 guys of the moment for your MXDN team, Ferrandis and Musquin should be locked in and you have to pick Febvre over Paulin because Romain is doing way better lately and also in the last couple MXDN editions. Romain won for France in Italy in 2016 by passing a guy in the last lap of the last moto. He went 1-3. Last year in England, he was also the best french performer with a 2-3.
So, in my opinion, the team should be Marvin, Dylan and Romain. Gautier shouldn’t be in the team and if I’m Gautier, I also well know Romain and Marvin are better choices today to race MXDN. The Federation sent a big F you to Marvin and they’ve been known for that in the past. They also didn’t like when Marvin turned down the selection last year to fix his knee but went ahead to win the million bucks at the Monster Cup. Eli Tomac tuned down the selection a couple times too but the AMA doesn’t hold a grudge for him. He will be in the US team in October. Not picking Marvin for the French team is like not picking Eli for the US team and saying Baggett is a better fit. It’s just ludicrous and I’m ashamed of my federation today and it’s not the first time…