The 2017 Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 51st Edition is poised for a re-match of last year’s epic contest as all three podium finishers return to the Guia street circuit on November 16-19.
Triumphing after a brilliant race-long dice with Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp last November, Peter Hickman will be reunited with Rutter on a pair of SMT/Bathams BMWs that have extra support from the MGM of Macau this year.
Joining them on a third S1000RR in Riders Motorcycles livery will be 2016 third placed finisher, Martin Jessopp.
Hickman has won two of the three Guia circuit races he has contested during what has been a meteoric rise through the road racing ranks for the British Superbike (BSB) Championship regular. Claiming his first Isle of Man TT podium finishes in June, the 30-year-old was also a race winner at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix on the Smith’s BMW. Having ridden a S1000RR to a top-six Showdown place in this season’s BSB series, the big Burton upon Trent rider will not face the challenge he had at last year’s Macao of adapting from his BSB ZX10R Kawasaki to the German superbike.
Eight-times Macao winner, Michael Rutter, is the Peter Pan of British road racing. The 45- year-old has been regularly trouncing riders half his age in the British Superstock series this season, and podium finishes and victories at the North West 200, in the Lightweight TT race and at the Classic TT show the stylish veteran has lost none of his pure roads pace. It is 20 years since Rutter claimed his first podium finish on the 6.2km Guia Circuit and, as his runner-up performance last year highlighted, he still has his sights firmly set on a ninth win.
Martin Jessopp has finished on the Macao podium five times, three as runner-up but never as a winner. Having come so close to tasting the victory champagne, especially in 2015 when he was well clear before falling foul of tyre trouble, the Yeovil rider will be gunning for glory in 2017.
Of course the rest of the 28-strong 2017 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix field have no intention of letting last year’s leading trio have things all their own way this time around.
No one will be more determined to get on the rostrum than last year’s impressive debutant, Glenn Irwin, who ran at the front with Hickman, Rutter and Jessopp until his PBM/Be Wiser Ducati struck trouble on the penultimate lap. BSB champion Shane Byrne’s teammate, the Northern Irishman makes no secret of his road racing ambitions, and he has already made his mark by beating the dominant Alastair Seeley in the feature Superbike race at this season’s North West 200.
The 2017 Macau line-up will also include the world’s fastest road racer, Dean Harrison. The Silicone Kawasaki rider set an incredible new record speed of 134.614mph (approximately 216.640kph) at the Ulster Grand Prix in August. The 29-year-old will come to Macao as the man on form after dominating the second half of the roads season with victories at the Ulster Grand Prix, the Southern 100, Classic TT and Scarborough Gold Cup.
British and Irish riders once again dominate the international Macao line-up which includes competitors from 10 countries, claiming 16 of the 28 grid places. John McGuinness, a Macau racer for 18 years, will not be amongst those starters as he is ruled out by injury like fellow former Macao winner, Ian Hutchinson.
Australian David Johnson (Four Anjels BMW) and Austrian, Horst Saiger (Saiger Racing Kawasaki) will lead the non-British challenge. Frenchman as Xavier Denis, a regular Isle of Man TT competitor, makes his Guia circuit debut as do Italian Alessandro Polita (Penz13 BMW Motorrad Motorsport), and Petr Biciste who joins fellow Czech Marek Cerveny on the Wepol-Heidger-Motorsport team.
2016 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 50th Edition Results
|1.||Peter Hickman||GBR||Bathams/SMT Racing||BMW|
|2.||Michael Rutter||GBR||Bathams/SMT Racing||BMW|
|3.||Martin Jessopp||GBR||Riders Motorcycles BMW||BMW|
|Fastest Lap: Martin Jessopp /Riders Motorcycles BMW/Lap 2/2:24.931/152.02 km/|