Road Racing News

Suncity Group Macau Grand Prix – Preview

The 53rd Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, has attracted a diverse world class class entry list, which includes TT winners, multiple International Road Race winners and IRRC stars.

Firm favourite for many to secure a fourth Macau GP title is world’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman.

MGM/Bathams supported Hickman who will pilot the same Smiths Racing BMW, that he raced in this year’s British Superbike Championship, has unquestionably been the standout International Road Racer from 2019.

Unbeatable at the Ulster Grand Prix, it’s going to take performances of the absolute highest quality to stop him improving his International Road Race victories CV, which currently stands at an already incredible 23.

Photo by ID

Amongst those quietly confident of providing stiff opposition to the BSB showdown contender, include MGM by Bathams team mate Michael Rutter.

The genial Rutter, although now a racing veteran is still more than a touch competitive on the roads, as showcased by a consistent array of accomplished performances this year at the North West 200, TT Races and Classic TT Races.

Photo by ID

One of the all-time great exponents of the technically challenging Macau course, his latest Asian roads tenure sees him pilot again the exotic RC213V-S Honda steed.

Additional strong contenders for podium finishes include the Ashcourt Racing duo of Lee Johnston and Gary Johnson.

Macau returnee Johnston has been in fine form all season, joining the TT winners circle for the first time, securing the coveted Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup at Scarborough, banking a fourth North West 200 victory and finishing runner-up in all three Supersport encounters of the Ulster GP.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Although it’s been a few years, since he last sampled the Guia Circuit, don’t be surprised to see S1000RR BMW mounted ‘General Lee’ find that next level, that next touch of pace needed to fight for a top three finish this month.

New team mate, twice Supersport TT winner Johnson who’s a consistent contender for Macau GP podium placing’s, also pilots BMW Motorrad machinery, in the form of the marques high spec, ultra-rapid HP4 Race steed.

Others BMW mounted who cannot be discounted from securing rostrums, top five finishes at minimum include 2013 event victor Ian Hutchinson (Team Milwaukee with SMT), IRRC Superbike Champion Davey Todd (Penz 13) and On 1 Racing’s Brian McCormack.

Added racer’s confirmed to jockey BMW’s are Canada’s fastest North West 200 exponent, China Superbike Championship front runner Dan Kruger, twice IRRC Supersport Champion Marek Cerveny, PRL Racing’s Sam West.

Duke Road Race Rankings leader Michael Sweeney, Finland’s leading road racer Erno Kostamo, Market Rasen’s Phil Crowe, JGH Racing’s Rob Hodson, Davy Morgan, Craig Neve and IRRC legend Didier Grams.

Paul Bird Motorsport once again head Ducati’s challenge, running 23 times TT winner John McGuinness and new team member, Superbike Classic TT winner David Johnson.

McGuinness and Johnson who are set to pilot the V4 Panigale Ducati which has proven formidable this year in the British Superbike, World Superbike Championships, are definite dark horses for rostrum finishes or better.

Sole Suzuki challenger is Metzeler King of the Roads series leader, BE Racing In Conjunction With Richardson Kelly Racing’s Derek Sheils whilst Yamaha has just two representatives, Portugal’s Andre Pires and former North West 200 Superstock class lap record holder Horst Saiger.

Remaining confirmed entrants are the Kawasaki mounted trio of Dafabet Devitt Racing team mates Dominic Herbertson/Paul Jordan and Spanish star Raul Torras Martinez, plus rising French roads talent Xavier Denis (Optimark by PerformanX) and event stalwart Steve Heneghan (Reactive Parts Ducati).

Celebrating 53 years of holding an International roads level motorcycle race, the Macau Grand Prix despite having ups and downs throughout it’s history remains one of the most cherished and coveted races to win for all pure road racers.

Expect this month world class, thrilling action in abundance around the unrelenting, fabled Guia course which multi times Macau GP runner-up Martin Jessopp once referred to as a short circuit with walls.

Words by Stevie Rial

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