Road Racing News

Suncity Group Macau Grand Prix – Preview – Part 1

The 52nd 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.

Reigning Macau GP champions Be Wiser Ducati, have another formidable rider line up for their latest International roads tenure.

Pilots of the team’s high spec, proven Panigale Ducati’s will be none other 23 times TT winner John McGuinness and perennial Macau bridesmaid Martin Jessopp.

Yeovil’s Jessopp no stranger to piloting Ducati machinery at Macau, has been for multiple years now an event winner in the making.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Will next week see him at last join the Macau winners circle? It’s a distinct possibility but the competition will be stern.

New team mate, Morecambe roads great McGuinness, whilst perhaps for some not a prime contender for race honours, is unquestionably someone you can never discount from banking a standout result, podium finish.

Photo by Darren Marlowe

Mountain Course lap record holder Peter Hickman, starts for various paddock insiders, roads aficionados, favourite to claim a third Macau GP crown.

It’s been a truly memorable years of roads competition for ‘Hicky’, who’s performance in June’s Pokerstars Senior TT will be remembered for many years to come.

Set to remain S1000RR BMW mounted for next weeks competition, the 11 times International Road Race victor forms part of a star studied two rider Aspire Ho/Bathams Racing team, alongside eight times Macau GP winner 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 Vauxhall International North West 200 and TT 2018.

One of the all time great exponents of the technically challenging Macau course, his latest Asian roads tenure sees him take on a new challenge, piloting Honda’s exotic RC213V-S steed.

Quietly confident of contending for a standout result, it wouldn’t at all be a surprise if come race day he hits the sweet spot with the RC213V-S, and contends for a ninth event victory.

Photo by Mark Corlett

You can’t discount as well RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki/Lee Hardy Racing’s Gary Johnson from scooping a rostrum finish.

Although recent roads season may have been tough, challenging for the popular Lincolnshire racer, he’s one of those racers who if everything falls into place, finds the right set up, balance with his machinery, can prove very, very tough to beat.

Same applies to leading Australian roads exponent David Johnson. Linking up for the first time in four years with BSB regular’s PR Racing to pilot top spec S1000RR BMW machinery, ‘Davo’ whilst perhaps a touch under the radar, is to be underestimated at your peril.

Photo by Rod Neill

Added ones to watch piloting BMW’s well lauded S1000RR steed, include PRL Racing’s Sam West, Didier Grams, Michael Sweeney, plus the Penz 13.com duo of Derek Sheils, IRRC Superbike champion Danny Webb and Czech roads legend Marek Cerveny.

2004 Senior Manx GP victor Davy Morgan, Terlicko specialist Xavier Denis also line up on BMW machinery, whilst Yamaha’s small presence is anticipated to be lead by 2017 TT Privateers champion Horst Saiger.

The marque that last tasted success at Macau back in 2013 with Ian Hutchinson, also enjoys representation from Portuguese star Andre Pires.

Concluding the non newcomer solo entrants is Panigale V4 Ducati mounted Steve Heneghan, Market Drayton’s Ben Wylie, who’s set to bring the iconic Bimota brand back to International roads competition.

Words by Stevie Rial

>