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Explaining Marvin Musquin's Penalty at 2019 Seattle Supercross

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Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin won the Seattle Supercross last night, his second-consecutive victory in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, but the entire race was shrouded with doubt after the #25 rider was seen jumping through a section lined with red cross (no jumping) flags.

The flags were out due to an huge crash that claimed both Chad Reed and Justin Brayton. Neither rider returned to the race, and Reed is suspected to have arm and rib injuries. Brayton was talking of knee pain and possibly a torn MCL ligament. We will update the status of these two as more information comes available.

As for Musquin, he led the race early and went on to capture the win. But would he be penalized and be stripped of the victory? No. As the official championship  rulebook explains, the penalty is now points, not positions.

Under section 4.16 of the rulebook, it states that a rider must do all of the obstacles individually (i.e. no double, triple, step on/off, etc.) when a red cross or red flashing light is shown. It goes on to say that if Race Direction determines that there was a blatant violation of the rule, the penalty will be as follows (emphasis ours): 

A. During practice and qualifying, the loss of the fastest lap time during that session.

B. During Heat or LCQ races, the loss of number of positions gained, plus two additional positions in the final results for that race.

C. During a main event race, if no positions were gained, the penalty will be the points and purse equal to two positions in the final results for that race plus two additional points.

D. During a main event race, if any positions are gained, the loss of number of positions gained plus the points and purse equal to two additional positions in the final results for that race, plus two additional points.

E. During a sighting or cool-down lap, a fine as determined by Race Direction.

F. If at any time Race Direction determines that it was not a blatant violation of the rule, a warning or fine may be issued.

So, in the case of Musquin, no positions were gained, so rule 9C was applied: He was stripped of points and purse equal to two positions (this case first to third) and an additional two points. That resulted in a seven-point penalty in the championship for Musquin.

Some fans may remember Ryan Dungey being stripped of a win for jumping through a red cross section in 2016, but the rulebook changed prior to the 2017 season. This new rule was actually enforced in the exact same manner at last year's Indianapolis Supercross, when Jeremy Martin won the race, but was found to have doubled a triple, and was thus still awarded the race win but was stripped of seven championship points.

Here's a link to the Martin story from last year, which also contains additional information on the rule from the AMA Supercross Manager Mike Pelletier. 

Musquin remains second in the series and 14 points down to his teammate Cooper Webb. He was 14 points down coming into Seattle.