The 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, has attracted a world class entry list, which includes TT winners, multiple international road race winners, IRRC stars and rising roads exponents.
Reigning Macau GP winner Peter Hickman, is all set to compete for Bathams SMT Racing on S1000RR BMW machinery, as he bids to retain the prestigious Macau GP crown.
It’s been a mixed year on the roads for Hicky, who at TT 2016 became officially the fourth fastest rider in TT history.
Photo by Kelvin Wong
We all know his pace, ability and determination for first class results, everyone at Macau this year, will have to beat this man, as they purse success at the Far East Asia based road race meeting.
Joining Peter in the Bathams SMT Racing team, is eight times winner at Macau, Michael Rutter.
Having wrapped up a hat trick of victories at the IRRC finale at Frohburg, Michael goes into the final international road race of 2016, in great form.
A proven specialist around the streets of Macau, it would not surprise anyone, if he proves the dominant force on the 20th of November.
Completing Bathams SMT Racing’s all star rider line up, is four times Macau GP champion, Stuart Easton.
Although he has had a tough year on the short circuit’s, don’t at all be surprised to see the Scotsman in contention for race victory, in late November.
In my opinion it’s an extremely strong possibility that one of Bathams SMT Racing’s riders, will stand on the top step of the podium at Macau, however the entry is filled a vast amount of quality.
Arguably the biggest threat to Robin Croft’s team, will come from Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson.
Now holding the title of been the world’s fastest road racer, following his sparkling 134.089 mph lap at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, he has been for many the number 1 roads competitor of 2016.
Photo by Kelvin Wong
Will he end his roads season in the best possible way in Macau? For many he starts as one of the firm pre race favourites, same applies to Martin Jessopp.
Three times a Macau GP runner up, Martin has the proven credentials to end the year, with a maiden international road race victory.
Set to pilot the Riders Motorcycles S1000RR BMW, he is in my opinion, another firm pre race favourite.
Honda’s challenge is anticipated to be led by Honda Racing duo, John McGuinness and Conor Cummins.
Photo courtesy of Macau Grand Prix
Although perhaps not regarded as podium finishing contenders, they both can’t be discounted from contending for significant results, as can’t Penz 13.com BMW’s Gary Johnson.
Joining the two times TT winner in Rico Penzkofer’s outfit, are Macau newcomers Danny Webb and TT Privateers champion Dan Hegarty, who lines up on ZX10R Kawasaki machinery.
Steve Mercer competing on the reigning Macau GP winning Briggs Equipment BMW, is one to watch as is four times IRRC Superbike champion Didier Grams.
Photo by Mark Corlett
Dan Kneen (Mar Train Racing), Horst Saiger (Saiger Racing Kawasaki), Bimota Racing duo Ben Wylie and Andre Pires all are capable of acquiring world class results.
Same applies to Lightweight TT winner Ivan Lintin (Devitt RC Express Racing Kawasaki), Sam West (Ice Valley Racing/Four Anjels Racing BMW), Dan Cooper (Dan Cooper Racing/CMS) and Mark Miller (Splitlath Motorsport Buell).
The quality of the entry is endless with the likes of Michael Sweeney, Brian McCormack, Davy Morgan and CF Racing Team 32’s AJ Venter all capable of springing a surprise or two.
One of the most high profile newcomers to Macau, will be Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducati.
Having not competed on the roads this year, it will be interesting to see how competitive the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix podium finisher will be.
Fellow high profile Macau newcomer, Irish road race Superbike champion Derek Sheils, is definitely one to watch, on the Cookstown BE Racing GSX-R 1000 Suzuki.
IRRC Supersport champion Marek Cerveny, has been in my opinion one of leading pure road racers of 2016.
Set for his Macau GP debut with Heidger Motorsport BMW, he’s another contender to finish leading newcomer.
If there is one word to describe, the entry for this year’s Macau Grand Prix, in my opinion it is, competitive.
It’s extremely difficult to predict who will be standing on the podium, on the 20th of November.
One thing’s for sure though, whoever secures a podium finish, 1st, 2nd or 3rd, will have had to have conquered the unique tight and twisty streets of Macau, where a mixture of smoothness, a calm temperament and great technical ability is key.
Words by Stevie Rial