Despite taking five podiums at the Macau Grand Prix between 2011 and 2016, finishing second three times and third twice, Martin Jessopp felt he was the surprise package on the front row after final qualifying today with the Yeovil rider putting in a quick lap in the final few moments to take third place and relegate Gary Johnson to the second row.
The last five years have seen Jessopp campaign BMW machinery but he’s switched to one of Paul Bird’s Ducati Panigale’s this time around and after only completing a few laps at Donington Park prior to heading to the Far East venue, he admitted he would have been happy with a top six position on the grid going into Saturday’s 12-lap race.
“I’m really happy to be this high up after qualifying as the first session on Thursday was a bit of a shock to the system to be honest. The bike’s very different to the BMW I’ve ridden here for the last five years and it’s a proper racing machine so it’s all been very new to me,” said Jessopp.
“I’ve ridden Ducatis before but that was a while ago and the Panigale is very different to what they were and I’ve hardly had any track time on the bike with just a few laps at Donington last month. After Thursday, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I’d have been happy with a position on the front two rows so to be sitting here in third alongside Peter and Michael feels pretty good. The race is another matter but we’ve put ourselves up there and will certainly be aiming for another podium.”