Marvin Musquin wins St. Louis Supercross, as Eli Tomac extends points lead

St. Louis hosted the final Triple Crown event of the 2022 season, with Marvin Musquin overcoming intense pressure to win his first race of the year.

Marvin Musquin celebrates 2022 St. Louis Supercross win. - KTM Media/Align Media.

The first stop in St. Louis for the AMA Supercross series since 2020 saw Marvin Musquin walk out the winner, as Eli Tomac extended his points lead. 

It was Musquin’s consistency across the three races of the final Triple Crown event of the season that saw him hit the top step for the first time in 2022. 

The Frenchman was the only KTM rider out there in St. Louis as Max Vohland failed to qualify for the night show on his return to action in the 250SX East class, and Cooper Webb’s midweek practice crash ruled him out of the St. Louis race.

Musquin responded to the pressure of being KTM’s sole hope for the night well, capitalising on other’s inconsistency on what was probably his strongest night of the year. 

The #25 has had an up-and-down season in 2022, with good speed at some points in the year, and other baffling races where he would be languishing in the bottom of the top 10.

Certainly, St. Louis was a night where his speed was comparable with the best out there, and often he was outright the fastest rider on the track. This was in part down to some good whoops speed from Musquin, a rider who generally struggles in the whoops compared to his rivals.

In previous races, Musquin’s strong speed through the majority of the track had been negated by his lack of speed in the whoops sections which, in 2022, have been - generally speaking - some of the toughest we have seen for years. 

In St. Louis, though, Musquin was able to keep decent speed through the whoops (perhaps the relatively high speed carried into them due to the track layout played its part), and that meant that instead of making up for the time lost in the whoops in the rest of the track, he was able to use that speed to make an advantage over the rest of the field. 

The best example of this was in race two, when he got out in front ahead of Jason Anderson. The Kawasaki rider was able to stay with Musquin for most of the race, but never able to make a pass, and eventually he dropped back towards the end of the race.

Musquin led Anderson again early in race three and, in his attempts to pass the Frenchman, Anderson crashed in the final turn before the finish jump. 

Musquin’s main rival for the overall win by the time the final race came around was Chase Sexton. While Musquin had gone 1-2 in the first two races, Sexton had gone 2-1, so they were tied up coming into the last race. Unfortunately for Sexton, while Musquin started once again in the top three, the Honda rider was stuck down in the lower reaches of the top 10 early on in the final race and, while he was able to cut through the pack quite efficiently, he was unable to close on Musquin, who stayed relatively comfortably in behind Eli Tomac throughout race three. 

It was Musquin’s third straight podium first win of the season, and 10th 450SX win of his career. Afterwards, he said, “It’s tough to win the Triple Crowns but my starts were awesome and the riding was good, I was trying to apply the best technique as possible.”

Musquin continued, “This track was awesome today, super technical, and I enjoyed it so much. I knew I needed to get a good start to win and that’s what I did. I was just trying to be consistent, as always.”

Sexton’s third place meant he took second overall, his first podium since Daytona, which was the week before his big Detroit crash with Cooper Webb. 

Sexton said, “My starts fell off the last two races, and everyone was on it; I had to kind of catch back up in that third one. Overall, it was a good step, and I’m happy to be healthy after all the crashes I’ve had. I’m just looking forward to building and going back to Atlanta Speedway.”

On the bottom step of the podium was Eli Tomac, who lacked flash all night but took the opportunity to win the final race when it presented itself to him. Taking fourth in the first two races put him level on points with Jason Anderson going into the final one, but Anderson’s inferior start compared to Tomac, plus his crash while chasing Musquin, meant he was unable in the end to stop Tomac from taking the final podium spot. Tomac has now, since round three in San Diego, missed the podium only once, when he was caught up with teammate Dylan Ferrandis at the start of the Minneapolis Main Event. 

After scoring his sixth-straight podium, Tomac said, “It was a good day and another good night for the championship points.”

Tomac added, “It was hard-fought in the first two motos because I didn’t put myself with the lead group, so I was stuck behind in both of those first two. That was a little bit frustrating, but we never gave up, and then in the third moto, I got a really good holeshot and rode much better and found good lines on the track. It was a very technical track this week. It was a little bit of a slower track and a steeper track, so it was just a different feeling.”

Tomac’s points lead is now 56 over Jason Anderson, meaning he could miss the next two races and still come back in Denver with a four-point lead. Anderson, meanwhile, has six points in-hand over Justin Barcia in the battle for second. 

Circling back now to Musquin; he has been the best rider for KTM this year. His top-end speed has arguably been more than reigning champion Cooper Webb, who is now 24 points behind Musquin in the standings after he missed St. Louis through innjury. 

Musquin is also the only rider to have won for KTM this year in any Supercross class, thanks to the orange brand’s rather bizarre rider situation in the 250 division, and the difficult season Max Vohland has endured. Additionally, Musquin’s St. Louis win is KTM’s first 450-class win in either Supercross or MXGP this year, thanks to the bizarre rider situation they have in Europe and Jeffrey Herlings’ injury. 

It gives both him and KTM and interesting decision to make. For KTM, they have to decide whether they want to keep Musquin around. The Frenchman is on a Supercross-only contract for 2022, and coming into the year the assumption seemed to be that this would be Musquin’s last year of racing. However, his speed is not any worse than last year - in fact, maybe it is a bit better - and he is still, evidently, capable of winning. So, it seems logical to keep him. 

However, if Cooper Webb leaves, KTM need a rider who can win the title. Musquin, as fast as he has been at times this year, does not seem to be that rider. Neither does Aaron Plessinger. So, in the eventuality that Webb leaves, KTM will probably want to sign another rider to fight for the title, and in that case do they still want to have three riders in Supercross? Considering that they will probably want to add a rider in 250SX to be able to compete on both coasts, and also considering the lack of substance from Vohland so far, that might stop them from putting a third bike out in 450s in 2023. 

From Musquin’s side, the question is much more simple, and it comes purely down to whether he wants to continue racing or not. If he does, and the contract is there, surely he will sign it. If he does not, surely he will not. There is not much that he can do about the politics of KTM, but right now - with three podiums in the last three races, including a win - there is little doubt that he is putting out the best advertisement for himself.