Hutchinson switches to BMW for 2019 Macau GP| Phil Wain | TT and Roads
Next month’s Macau Grand Prix will again see 28 riders, including four previous winners, pit their wits against the Armco-lined Guia circuit with reigning champion and three-time winner Peter Hickman heading the entry once more.
Victor in 2015, 2016 and 2018, Hickman will ride his regular Smiths Racing-prepared BMW S1000RR at the meeting, which takes place from November 14-16, riding on this occasion under the MGM by Bathams Racing banner.
The 32-year old will be hoping to make it a clean sweep of International road race victories having already won at the Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and North West 200 but he’ll have to get the better of team mate and record eight-time winner Michael Rutter.
The duo line up together for the fourth year in a row with Rutter campaigning the Honda RC213V once more having sampled it for the first time on the 3.8 mile circuit 12 months ago.
A winner last time in 2012, he’ll be aiming to get the better of Hickman and improve upon his second place of last year although further opposition will undoubtedly be provided by fellow former winners Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness.
Hutchinson, who took the victory in 2013, makes his return to the event for the first time since 2016 but rather than Honda Racing, who he’s ridden with on the roads for the last two seasons, he’ll be BMW mounted this time around riding for Robin Croft’s Team Milwaukee by SMT Racing.
McGuinness, winner in 2001, will be reunited with Paul Bird’s Ducati team, this time riding the Ducati Panigale V4R and he’ll be joined by Aussie David Johnson who lines up with the Cumbrian team for the first time as he looks to improve upon his previous best finish of seventh which was taken last year.
A formidable pairing lines up at Ashcourt Racing with regular rider Lee Johnston riding a 2019-spec BMW S1000RR as the Halifax-based rider returns to Macau after missing last year’s meeting.
He’s joined by regular Macau GP visitor Gary Johnson with the Lincolnshire rider having taken an impressive eight top five finishes since 2009, including third in 2013 and fifth last year.
Another rider who’ll certainly be challenging for the podium despite it just being his second Macau appearance will be rising star Davey Todd. Ninth on his debut last year, Todd will again ride for the MGM by Penz13 BMW team who he’s been with all year, taking podiums at both the North West 200 and Ulster GP as well as winning the International Road Race Championship.
Dafabet Devitt Racing will again field Paul Jordan and Dominic Herbertson on a pair of Kawasaki ZX-10RR’s and they’re joined on the entry list by fellow Brits Phil Crowe (Handtrans/Lee Jackson BMW), Sam West (PRL BMW), Craig Neve (Callmac Scaffolding BMW), Rob Hodson (JGH Racing BMW) and Davy Morgan (DM71 BMW).
Derek Sheils, eighth last year, should again be the leading competitor from Southern Ireland on his regular Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki, but he’s ably backed up by Michael Sweeney (MJR Racing BMW), Brian McCormack (ON-1 Racing BMW) and Steve Heneghan (Reactive Parts Ducati).
As always, there’s a strong contingent of riders from mainland Europe with Horst Saiger expected to be the most prominent on his R1 Yamaha, the Austrian having taken a best finish of fifth just three years ago.
Didier Grams (G&G Motorsport BMW) is another rider more than capable of finishing in the top ten with leading Finnish rider Erno Kostamo back for a second time as part of the MGM by Penz13 team where he’ll also be joined by Canadian Dan Kruger, a late replacement for Danny Webb.
The Czech Republic’s Marek Cerveny (Wepol Racing BMW), Frenchman Xavier Denis (Optimark Honda), Portugal’s Andre Pires (Beauty Machines Racing Yamaha) and Spain’s Raul Torras Martinez (Torras Racing Kawasaki) complete the strong line-up.