Michael Rutter topped the leaderboard in Friday’s second qualifying session at the Macau Grand Prix but it wasn’t enough to dipose MGM by Bathams Racing team-mate Peter Hickman from pole position with the latter’s time from Q1 on Thursday seeing him hold onto the top spot.
Rutter put in 13 laps, the most of anyone, during Friday’s 45-minute session around the 3.8-mile circuit and a flying lap of 2’25.382s on the Honda RC213V-S in the dying moments saw him go to the top of the leaderboard and get the better of David Johnson by 0.711s.
However, Hickman’s time from Thursday of 2’25.100s meant he held onto pole position by 0.282s with the BMW rider lapping a second slower on Friday as he didn’t get clear track when he needed it and didn’t use a Q-tyre.
Johnson, on the Tak Chun Group by PBM Ducati, again impressed, knocking one and a half seconds from his Thursday time with a lap of 2m26.093s putting him second quickest on Friday and third fastest overall for a first ever front row start at the Macau GP.
Just as Hickman got the better of Rutter, so too did Johnson of his team-mate John McGuinness. He wasn’t able to find as much pace on Friday as the Aussie did with a time of 2’26.352s seeing him slip from P3 overall to P4 to head off the second row for Saturday’s 12-lap race.
Back after a year’s absence, Lee Johnston moved up to fifth overall on the 2019-spec Ashcourt Racing BMW on Friday after lapping at 2’27.101s, some three seconds quicker than what he’d gone on Thursday. That saw him push Horst Saiger back to sixth and the end of the second row, the Austrian lapping half a second slower than the Northern Irishman on his Yamaha R1.
Finnish rider Erno Kostamo, in just his second year at Macau, put in an excellent performance on the MGM by Penz13 BMW to move from tenth overall to seventh and he’ll head off the third row ahead of Johnston’s team-mate for the week Gary Johnson. Getting more and more used to the HP4 carbon BMW, the Lincolnshire rider upped his pace from a 2’31s lap on Thursday to 2’28.548s on Thursay to ensure he’ll be challenging for another top six finish come race day.
Phil Crowe (Handtrans/Lee Jackson BMW) and Ian Hutchinson (Team Milwaukee with SMT BMW) moved up to ninth and tenth respectively courtesy of their Friday times whilst Didier Grams and Davey Todd slipped back to 11th and 12th respectively even though they set their quickest laps of the week in Q2 as well. Derek Sheils was another rider to drop back with the Burrows Engineering rider going from sixth in Q1 to 13th in Q2 and on the combined times.
With the exception of Hickman, all of the top ten set their quickest times on Friday as the circuit got cleaner and quicker with all the various track activity seeing plenty of rubber laid down.