Yamaha’s Hutchinson Tops Rutter for Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix Pole
2013 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix Motorcycle Qualifying Results
SMT Racing Honda’s Michael Rutter almost earned his 10th pole for the Macau Grand Prix motorcycle race.
But in a last-moment effort that was more like a race, Milwaukee Honda’s Ian Hutchinson secured the pole on Friday. The top qualifying positions arrived following a three-lap duel with Rutter, the margin of pole victory just 0.05 of a second.
Eight-time Macau Grand Prix winner Rutter held provisional pole overnight from John McGuinness (Honda TT Legends), with Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) third and 34-year-old Hutchinson a remarkable fourth place.
For most of Friday morning’s dry and fine but cooler session it seemed as if the times set in the afternoon sun of a perfect Thursday afternoon would not be bettered, but with five minutes of the session remaining, Rutter was tracking Hutchinson around the circuit and the pair of them were getting ever-faster.
Hutchinson, who is riding this weekend for the first time in 18 months, managed to stay in front of Rutter all the way to the checkered flag and the clear track gave him the advantage and pole.
Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1) says: “We made quite a big change from yesterday front and rear, as we’ve been really struggling, really trying hard. Towards the end of the session I thought the track felt better than yesterday, so I knew it had to be the changes we’d made.
“So I took the risk that we’d get it back how it was in time. It took about 15 minutes so I had about four minutes, a lap, to go. I never expected to get pole but was hoping for a front row start. I’m pleased it’s come out like this and nice to get praise from all the riders. I’ve had a lot of support.”
Searching for a record-setting ninth victory of the same SMT Honda he rode to win number eight last year, Rutter was philosophical about being beaten.
Michael Rutter (SMT Racing Honda CBR1000RR) says: “It was good just get behind him and try and do him on the last bit at the start/finish, but he pulled about four seconds on me! Fair play to [Hutchinson] though, he’s been through a lot. I’ve had a few poles, so I hope we can put a good race together tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top three, McGuinness was just less than two seconds behind the duelling duo – a typically strong performance from a proven winner who knows when to push – a front-row start tomorrow will keep him well placed to add a second Macau win to his 2001 victory.
John McGuinness (Honda TT Legends CBR1000RR) says: “2001 is a long time ago. I’ve put my heart and soul in and gone round as hard as I could all weekend. The bike’s been good, the team’s been good and we’re all enjoying ourselves. I’m on the front row and I couldn’t really have done any more. The front row is really important for this Macau race and I have to say hats off to Hutchinson. He hasn’t been on a bike for a long, long time, so to stick it on pole position in such hot company and on one of the toughest tracks in the world [is an achievement].”
Twenty four-year-old Lee Johnston (East Coast Racing Honda) was best of the newcomers on the Guia Circuit. He came to Macau last year but didn’t turn a wheel, so this second visit marked his racing debut with a strong 11th place on tomorrow’s grid.
The Star River‧Windsor Arch Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 47th Edition is at 15:30 local time Saturday, Nov. 16, and will be run over 15 laps of the legendary 6.2-kilometer Guia Circuit.