Seattle, Wash., (March 24, 2019) With a very dramatic post-race dilemma, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship didn't tally the points on the Seattle event until after the racing had ended, the bikes had cooled, and many of the 58,721 fans were making their way out of the stadium. Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin won the race, his second win of the season, but incurred a seven-point penalty for jumping through a section while the red cross flag, signaling tires must remain on the ground, was being displayed. The penalty erased the points Musquin would have otherwise gained on Red Bull KTM teammate Cooper Webb, who finished in fourth. In the Western Regional 250SX class Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha's Dylan Ferrandis nabbed his career-first victory in a close finish ahead of points leader Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Zach Osborne grabbed the holeshot in the 450SX Class Main Event with Marvin Musquin right behind; Team Honda HRC teammates Ken Roczen and Cole Seely and Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac rounded out the top five at the start of the race. Musquin took only a few corners before grabbing the lead. But exiting the second corner after the holeshot, several riders had gone down, bringing out the red cross flags when the pack came back through. With a safety-issue no-jumping rule in effect, Musquin jumped through, creating a question mark of a possible penalty before the points would finally be given out.
But on the track Musquin gained enough of a gap to say out of reach of a pass attempt by Roczen. Behind them, Tomac made his way past Seely for second while Osborne dropped several positions in the opening laps. Points leader Cooper Webb battled with Monster Energy Kawasaki's Joey Savatgy for the final top-five position. It would take over 13 minutes for Webb to catch and finally pass Seely. And that's where the top four placed as they crossed the line with Musquin lighting the finish line flames, Roczen close behind, Tomac a bit back, and Webb salvaging fourth.
On the podium, Musquin learned that his victory was under review, and viewed footage of the incident, "I feel really bad. I was leading and you know, all the nerves and excitement, and I got there, I can see on the video right there I'm slowing down, but then after that I'm jumping. So yeah, we'll see what's going on on that, but nothing I can do right now. Right after I went through that section I was looking back, didn't know what to do, I was kinda slowing down, but it was too late. But other than that, it was a fantastic race, hitting my marks, finally pulling the trigger on that big quad into the rhythm section, I cased that on the very first lap. For a second, I thought I maybe messed up my rear wheel, 'cause I cased it so hard. Luckily it was fine, and I kept on charging. Kenny was right there behind me and I kept it consistent through the whoops and, man I had so much fun. I was pacing myself, I mean I was obviously pushing to my max but trying to be precise and hitting my marks. Made a couple mistakes but man, stayed on two wheels and that felt awesome."
Ken Roczen, said right after the race, "As the red cross flag came out, I was rolling and I saw him doubling through, and I was like, 'Oh, that was not OK,' I knew it right there and then. That's when he gapped me quite a bit, but after that I was such in race mode and towards the end, I forgot about it until they said something again. But, I mean, it was a clear red cross flag so I'm excited to see what they're going to say. I just bounced back pretty good [from an illness] from the last two weeks. I'm not 100 percent yet, I noticed it even before the Main Event, but overall I rode my heart out and we had a solid race so I can't be happier right now."
Eli Tomac had a podium locked but wasn't sure if it would be third place points or second place points right after the race, "[It was a] better overall race than last week. On the start tonight got a little bit pushed out wide there, made a good move though down the second straightaway, a few passes, and then felt like I was in touch with Marvin and Ken for the first half of the race. And then I fell off a little bit in the middle and then kinda felt like I came back at the end, but at that point was too far gone. I was working the whoops good early in the race, skimming, and then kind of took too long to get to my rhythm jumping, and that's what cost me. So, I gotta pick up on those lines a little bit quicker next time."
After the race Cooper Webb held fourth, but any penalty would have a big effect on his points lead. He said, "It was a tough Main Event. I've been really good on my starts and didn't execute, so pretty frustrating. It was a tough Main Event for sure, but I put my head down, was losing a lot of time; I wasn't doing a quad that a lot of the guys started doing and was behind the eight ball on that. So, once I started doing that, I started making some passes. Yeah, fourth place, but those guys were great tonight, they straight up outrode me. Frustrating, but we'll make some changes, get better, and come back."
An official penalty decision was announced soon after. Regarding the red cross flag infraction, the rulebook states that when it occurs during a Main Event, "...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." The penalty erases what could have been a seven-point gain in the standings as Musquin and Webb earned the same number of points on the night. With only five rounds remaining, Musquin remains second in points, fourteen points back.
Dylan Ferrandis turned a second-place start into his first ever 250SX Class Main Event win with a race that tested his nerves from start to finish. It was teammate Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha's Colt Nichols who grabbed the holeshot, but within a few turns JGRMX Yoshimura Suzuki's Jimmy Decotis overtook both Yamaha riders. Nichols regained the lead through the whoops, then a few turns later had a dramatic crash that took him out of the race. Ferrandis made his move for the lead in the same spot on the next lap, and a minute after that Cianciarulo put himself into second place, less than a second behind, and started applying the pressure. The top two racers were quadding a big rhythm section when they had a clear track ahead of them, with Cianciarulo remaining within a couple seconds. He turned up the pressure, nearly at Ferrandis' rear tire in the final turn, but never was able to make a pass and Ferrandis took his first checkered flag.
The lead contenders for the Western Regional 250SX championship dropped from four to two in Seattle with TLD/Red Bull KTM's Shane McElrath not lining up for his heat race, citing back issues, and Colt Nichols ending the night with only a single earned point.
Dylan Ferrandis was ecstatic after his first supercross win, "It's unbelievable, I'm so happy. It was difficult tonight because I was fast on the track and got a good start and I see my teammate crash really bad in front of me, so it was a little bit sketchy, I wasn't really sure what happened to him. After I was leading, though, it was crazy. It's been a while I haven't led a race. AC was really fast. He pushed me... It was new for me to be out front. I kind of struggled a little bit just trying not to make mistakes. Lapped riders were really difficult to manage through. My team makes so much work for me and they deserve so much this week, so I'm just so happy."
Adam Cianciarulo, "First off, congrats to Dylan, he's been so close all year and is really a world class rider, on his first win. That's awesome, tons of respect for him. Yeah, I had a couple sections of the track, I think in the whoops I was a little bit faster jumping through there on that right side, and I could tell he couldn't figure it out because he was moving all around trying to skim them and doing a bunch of different stuff. We got pretty close a couple times and right there in the middle of the race I really got messed up by a lapper and had to catch up from a few seconds behind, but overall, I'm happy with my race. I feel like I could have been better in a few spots for sure, and certainly I think if I'd have put a whole lap together there at the end when I was a little bit closer to him I might have been talking about a first instead of a second, but that's the way racing goes. We'll go back to the drawing board this week and get better... Stoked on this ride. I think it was smart on a really treacherous track that could have gone bad for me, so I'll take it, move on, get better, come out swinging next weekend."
Jimmy Decotis earned his second podium of the year, "I'm a little bummed on this one. I mean, the way I rode in the heat I had the fastest lap out of all heats, and I was crushing the whoops, and then they changed, and they ended up being jumpers and I just struggled jumping them. Wish I kept skimming them, it's just a lot of effort to do that. But third is good, I'm just happy to get the Suzuki on the podium, it's just, I really want more. I want to stay close to the leaders; they got away way too much for me to be happy tonight. But overall third is good and get some better championship points after a real rough week in Atlanta, so it's good to get some redemption and be up here for the JGR guys. But I really do, I want more, and want to keep building and I want to win one of these, I feel like I can do that."
Next weekend Monster Energy Supercross makes its second stop in the Lone Star State in NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas for another Triple Crown format race day.