The 48th edition of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix challenged many known international road racers this week at the Guia Circuit.
This year’s winner was no stranger to the Macau GP, though he hadn’t raced there in the past three years. This rider – Stuart Easton – had a flawless run as he piloted his Venetian Hotel Paul Bird Motorsports Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja to victory.Easton, who also qualified on pole, now has four Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix wins, making for a perfect record – he won all four times he competed at Macau.Easton was untouchable, gaining time on the remaining 27 riders every lap. He would eventually finish the Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix 14.050 seconds ahead of Milwaukee Yamaha’s Michael Rutter, an eight-time winner at Macau, and 14.505 ahead of Riders Motorcycles BMW’s Martin Jessopp.“It didn’t feel that easy!,” Easton says. “The plan worked, which was to get away in front and settle in for a couple of laps, and try and set a pace that I felt fast enough but still comfortable with so if anyone came with me, we could race at the end. It’s nice to win on my return having missed three years, to take pole and to win. I couldn’t have asked more from the tires, from the bike and from the whole team.”As Easton relaxed up front, the battle for the remaining podium positions was intense, Last year’s winner, Paul Bird Kawasaki’s Ian Hutchinson, was involved in the battle early on, but he would crash out.Rutter began slowly, but was soon back into second – where he started on the grid. He bounced on the wall at Donna Maria while pursuing Easton, and was forced to slow down. He was immediately challenged by Pirtek Pro Bolt Honda’s Lee Johnston, Quattro Plant Monex Europe Racing Honda’s Gary Johnson and Jessopp.He would keep his second-spot to the checkered flag.“We knew Stuart was going to be competitive, but he’s done a brilliant job. I got a real bad start. I got through and thought ‘right I’ve got to get my head down and get on the back of him straight away’ and I clipped the wall,” Rutter says.“Then I thought I’d try and keep second and if I stayed smooth I’d be, but that wasn’t the answer – Lee [Johnston] passed me, Martin passed me. We kept passing but it was all clean racing. I could hear them coming at the hairpin and I thought ‘I just wish they’d clear off!’”Jessopp earned the final podium position by a small margin – a half of second behind Rutter and only a second ahead of Gary Jonson.“We put on a good show. We had a fuse go on the bike yesterday and that cost us as we had to start way back on the grid. It was good fun, a good battle and we thought we might as well take it to Michael, me and Gary [Johnston], but Stuart’s made us all look a bit silly today,” Jessopp says.Rounding out the top 10 were Honda’s Lee Johnston, Kawasaki’s Horst Saiger, 21-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness (Honda), BMW’s Daniel Cooper, Kawasaki’s Roman Stamm and BMW’s Stephen Thompson.As for the two Americans competing at Macau – both on EBR 1190RS machinery – Mark Miller finished 12th, and Brandon Cretu crashed out.Next year’s 49th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix is scheduled for November 19-21.