2018 Macau GP: Race weekend preview

This year’s Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix is set to welcome back a trio of former winners who between them have 11 wins to their name and with an international line-up of 28 of the world’s top road racers, a combination of experience and up-and-coming talent, the 12-lap race around the legendary 3.8-mile Guia street circuit will certainly be one to watch

Taking place on Saturday November 17th, eight-time winner Michael Rutter leads the charge as he looks to extend his record number of wins to nine, 20 years after his first win in 1998. He reunites with Peter Hickman, winner in 2015 and 2016, in the new Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing team.

Rutter, third last year, will ride an exotic Honda RC213V for the first time having recently completed some shakedown tests at Donington Park and Brands Hatch and will look to get back on to the top step for the first time since 2012.

Team mate and fellow Briton Hickman lines up on his familiar BMW S1000RR as he chases a Macau hat-trick. Having recently finished fifth overall in the British Superbike Championship, the 31-year old is, arguably, the favourite on the back of a season that has seen him set a new outright lap record at the Isle of Man TT en route to his Senior TT win, as well as victories at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Having missed the race last year due to injury, 2001 winner John McGuinness makes a welcome return where he’ll be on board a Ducati 1199 Panigale, as will his Tak Chun Group by PBM team mate Martin Jessopp. Fourth at Macau last year, Jessopp, who took his debut win at this year’s North West 200, has reached the Macau podium on no less than five occasions and will again be gunning for that elusive first victory.

Gary Johnson, third in 2013 and sixth last year, is back with Briggs Equipment Kawasaki, whilst Australian David Johnson also returns, this time riding a BMW for Liverpool-based PR Racing.

The rest of the 28-strong field features a number of familiar faces as well as a number of talented newcomers who are looking to impress on their Macau debuts.

Derek Sheils (PuraGlobe Syntainics Racing Oil by Penz13 BMW) and Michael Sweeney (MJ Racing BMW) head the Irish charge along with Davy Morgan (DM71 BMW) with IRRC Superbike Champion Danny Webb joining Sheils in Rico Penzkofer’s impressive looking team. Sam West (BMW with PRL/OHA Motorsport), Ben Wylie (Bimota Racing/Amore Moto) and Steve Heneghan (Reactive Parts Ducati Panigale) also return.

Horst Saiger who makes his 11th visit, this time on a Yamaha R1, spearheads mainland Europe’s challenge with the Austrian having taken three top six finishes since 2012 and he’ll be joined by another potential top six finisher in the form of Germany’s Didier Grams (G&G Motorsport by BMW Motorrad).

France’s Xavier Denis is entered with PerformanX Racing on a BMW following a successful debut last year whilst flying the flag for the Czech Republic is Wepol Racing by Penz13 rider Marek Červený, who makes his third visit to Macau, this time on a BMW. Portugal’s André Pires (Team FastBike/Beauty Machines) also returns.

The rest of the field sees an impressive ten newcomers with 2018 sensation Davey Todd leading the way on another PuraGlobe Syntainics Racing Oil by Penz13 BMW. The former Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship race winner made a sensational first appearance at the Isle of Man this year and has impressed at all of the road race meetings in 2018.

Dominic Herbertson and Paul Jordan will join forces at Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki, having impressed for the team at the Ulster Grand Prix, with fellow debutantes Manxman Andrew Dudgeon and Lincolnshire’s Craig Neve, campaigning BMW machinery for VRS Racing and CN Racing respectively.

Fellow Britons JGH Racing’s Rob Hodson and Phillip Crowe of Handtrans JCR Racing will also be BMW S1000RR-mounted as will Daley Mathison who will be team-mates to Cerveny at Wepol Racing by Penz13.

The entry is completed by popular Spaniard Raül Torras Martinez (Martimotos Yamaha) and 27-year-old Erno Kostamo (Markka Racing by Penz13 BMW), the first Finnish rider to compete at Macau since Eero Hyvarinen who scored a number of top ten finishes at the event in the 1980s.

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