2019 Macau Grand Prix
Michael Rutter (MGM by Bathams Honda RC213V) was declared the winner of the Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 53rd Edition after two red flag-interrupted races on the 6.2km Guia Circuit.
Defending champion Peter Hickman (MGM by Bathams BMW) was second, with South Australia’s David Johnson (Tak Chun by PBM Ducati) third.
The race began with Hickman doing what everyone expected of him: he stormed the opening two laps to build a lead of seven-seconds over Rutter (MGM by Bathams Honda RC213V) with David Johnson (Tak Chun by PBM Ducati), Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) and Davey Todd (MGM by Penz 13 BMW) all in close pursuit.
Hickman appeared to have backed off and settled into his lead as lap three went by but then red flags came out when Rob Hodson (JGH Racing) fell at the Esses and Marek Červený (Wepol Racing BMW), who was close behind, could not avoid the fallen motorcycle. Both riders received only minor injuries and returned to the paddock on the recovery truck.
The organisers declared a re-start, thereby nullifying the three laps which had been run, per the regulations, and re-formed the grid for an 8-lap race.
This time Michael Rutter was the one with the quick getaway and was ahead of Hickman before Turn One, but he couldn’t break away from Hickman in the same way as Hickman had escaped in race one – instead of three-seconds as it had been in lap one, the gap was closer to three-tenths, and Hickman duly passed Rutter under brakes into Lisboa Bend and started stretching the gap at once.
But the red flags came out only a few seconds later as six riders were involved in an incident at Post 15 – Erno Kostamo (MGM by Penz 13), Derek Sheils (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki), Didier Grams (G&G Motorsport BMW), Michael Sweeney (Martin Jones Racing BMW), Philip Crowe (Handtrans-Lee-Jackson-AC BMW) and Dan Kruger (MGM by Penz 13 BMW). Three riders were taken to hospital; Kostamo, Sheils and Kruger, all were conscious. Kruger and Sheils were quickly discharged, while Kostamo is in a stable condition after surgery.
There was no opportunity to re-start the race for the second time. After first declaring a no result, and that no podium ceremony would be held as the race was declared null and void, organisers then changed their mind and called the results to be declared as per the race order at the end of the opening lap.
Peter Hickman was on course to win the race on the Bathams BMW and had clearly demonstrated that he had the speed to best all-comers, but it was his Honda RC213V-S mounted team-mate Michael Rutter that took the winners cheque and yet another Macau GP victory as he was ahead at the end of the first lap, prior to the final red flag incident on lap two.
“The MGM Grand Bathams Racing by FHO Racing and Smiths Racing has enjoyed a successful event finishing P1 & P2 and retaining the Top Team Trophy. After the second red flag situation the organisers decided the race would not be restarted due to failing light and a Sunday rerun could not be shoehorned into an already tight schedule, as such the result was declared at the end of lap one with Michael taking the win and me in second. Three of the six riders were taken to hospital and our thoughts are with them to make speedy recoveries, we were reassured that none of the injuries are life threatening.”
David Johnson was hopeful that he would have mustered the pace to try and run down Rutter for second place over a full-distance race but had to settle for third. Johnson raced the event on a BSB spec’ Superbike from PBM, the same as those ridden to a 1-2 in the British Superbike Championship with Scott Redding and Josh Brookes. Johnson’s team-mate for the event in the PBM Ducati squad was John McGuinness.
Johnson had qualified three-tenths quicker than team-mate McGuinness but McPint did not make the race start after machine problems on the sighting lap ended his race before it began.
“It’s quite a strange way to get a podium but I felt we thoroughly deserved it as our pace has been really strong all week. Every time I rode the bike, I learnt more and more about it and we found a lot of things in between the qualifying sessions and even after Q2 when we sat down and looked at the data we could see there were a couple of key areas on the circuit where I was losing a lot of time including using the wrong gear in some of the corners.
“The plan was to put it all together on the track on Saturday where we made a couple more changes during morning warm-up. By the time we got to the race I felt that we were in a position to fight for the podium and in the first three laps, I felt really comfortable. Hicky had obviously disappeared but I was just sitting behind Rutter waiting for the second half of the race. Unfortunately, the crashes meant we never got another proper run but I’m over the moon with the third place and really grateful for the team for giving me the opportunity.”
“What can I say, I’m absolutely gutted that I didn’t get to start today’s race as it John McGuinnesshad been an amazing week up until that point. From the moment I jumped on it, I loved riding the Ducati and I’m really grateful for the PBM team and everyone around me for keeping the faith in me. I felt really comfortable on the bike and we ran some good, competitive times during qualifying so I felt confident we could fight for the podium.
“There was little to choose between Davo and myself but I had a problem on the sighting lap and although the boys did everything they could to try and fix it on the grid, as soon as I pulled away for the warm-up lap, I knew it wasn’t right. Like I say, I’m gutted and it’s not what we deserved but we showed how competitive we could be so I’m sure we’ll be back next year for another go.”
2019 Macau Grand Prix Results
(Declared at end of lap one after red flag)
- Michael Rutter – Honda RC213V-S
- Peter Hickman – BMW S 1000 RR +0.298s
- David Johnson – Ducati V4 R +0.861s
- Davey Todd – BMW S 1000 RR +1.553s
- Lee Johnston – BMW S 1000 RR +1.937s
- Ian Hutchinson – BMW S 1000 RR +2.249s
- Horst Saiger – Yamaha YZF-R1 +2.461s
- Gary Johnson – BMW HP4 +3.682s
- Emo Kostamo – BMW S 1000 RR +4.083s
- Derek Sheils – Suzuki GSX-R1000 +4.346s