SMT Honda’s Rutter Wins 8th Macau Grand Prix
Michael Rutter has been unstoppable at the Macau Grand Prix.
Last year, the Wordsley native took his seventh win, becoming the record holder for most victories at the race held at 3.8-mile street circuit in Macau, China.
And following Sunday’s race – rescheduled from Saturday due to rain – Rutter added to that record, taking his eight victory following 10 laps on the Macau street circuit. Rutter, who won the SES TT Zero this year at the Isle of Man TT races, took the victory at the 59th edition of the Macau Grand Prix (46th for motorcycles), rode a Jezac SMT Honda CBR1000RR.
Rutter won by 4.918 seconds ahead of Riders Motorcycles.com Ducati’s Martin Jessopp and Ice Valley by Motorsave Trade BMW’s Simon Andrews.
Michael Rutter (Jezac SMT Honda CBR1000RR) says: “I’m over the moon to have gone into the record books again with win number eight. I really enjoy coming here and hope I can continue for a few more years yet.”
As for Rutter’s teammate, 19-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness finished seventh, over 27 second behind. There were also two Americans competing at the Macau Grand Prix – Mark Miller and Brandon Cretu. Miller finished 15th, 1:17.652 minutes behind, and Cretu, 3:42.516 minutes behind.
Following is a report from the Macau Grand Prix Committee:
Rutter was third in the opening practice session, but was soon up to speed and putting in good times to top every session for the rest of the week. The first qualifying session was cut short after only 10 minutes due to the crash which claimed the life of fellow TT racer Luis Carreira. The remaining sessions were also hindered with wet weather and delays, but Rutter still continued to dominate the time sheets and qualified on pole, Macau Grand Prix Commission reports.
The race on Saturday was postponed due to poor weather, eventually taking place on Sunday at 8:15 a.m. UK time.
Rutter got off the line well and passed Gary Johnson to take the lead by the end of the first lap and start pulling a gap over the rest of the pack. Jessopp was soon putting in fastest race laps and was bridging the gap, but as soon as Rutter was signalled this information he upped his game and managed to win the race by 4.9 seconds, with third place man Simon Andrews, another TT rider, 11.2 seconds back on the winner.
Michael Rutter says: “Firstly I must pass on my thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Luis Carreira who we sadly lost in the first qualifying session. It marred the rest of the week, but as we all know in racing we have to keep strong and carry on.
“It was a mixed week with accidents and also weather problems that seemed to put delays on everything. It’s hard to keep focused and in the zone when session are cancelled or postponed. The week seemed a long one as the other sessions were delayed after darkness fell and then the race delayed due to wet weather.
“I’m really pleased however, with how everything went on the Jezac SMT Honda, everyone worked really well together and despite not riding a Honda for a few years everything felt good from the off. We took it steady on the first session and just tried to find our feet get a good set up on the bike and ready for the remaining session over the three days.
“Once everything was working right I got my head down and wanted to put in some good lap times from the start. I was able to be consistent through both qualifying and practice and was able to set pole position. I was once again fastest in warm-up and really looking forward to getting out there and race the Jezac SMT Honda.
“I got a bit of a bad start and Gary (Johnson) shot out the blocks, but I needed to make sure I got past him early on. I got through and got my head down, I noticed Martin (Jessopp) was catching me and I just wanted to remain at the front and focussed on the job in hand, I could see the gap was going back up and just stayed with that pace for the rest of the race.
“I’d like to thank all my loyal sponsors for supporting me this year through a tough season and I’m glad I’ve been able to end the season on a high and repay them for everything they have done for me.
“Now I’m looking at finalising my plans for 2013 and hope to be able to announce something soon.”
Photo courtesy of Macau Grand Prix Commission