2018 Macau Grand Prix
After eighteen months away from riding a Superbike, the legacy of multiple injuries sustained at the North West 200 in May 2017, McGuinness was part of the Tak Chun Group by PBM Ducati team and was well aware of the task in front of him but he diligently went about his business as soon as he took to the 3.8-mile Guia circuit on Thursday.
Using the hour-long free practice session to re-familiarise himself with the daunting, Armco-lined course, as well as get more dialled into the 1199 Ducati Panigale, John placed 11th before shaving almost seven seconds off his time later in the afternoon in first qualifying to move up to ninth.
The second and final qualifying session on Friday morning saw him improve by a further two seconds, improving his lap times with each and every lap and the 2001 race winner duly lined up in eighth place on the grid for Saturday morning’s scheduled 12-lap race.
A solid start saw him complete the first lap in tenth place and here he remained for the first half of the race. Heading into lap nine, John had the BMW duo of Derek Sheils and Davey Todd just ahead of him but any hopes of climbing higher up the leaderboard ended soon after when Phil Crowe and Ben Wylie crashed, fortunately without serious injury.
The incident subsequently brought out the red flags and the race result declared at the end of eight laps which placed John in tenth place, a solid result in his Superbike comeback and a valuable outing ahead of 2019.
“I was a little bit rusty and nervous coming into the meeting having not been on a proper Superbike for two years but I was happy enough with my grid position for the race. Everything slowly came back to me and it started flowing and I got into a bit of a rhythm towards the end and went a bit faster so I was looking to give a good account of myself in the race and enjoy myself. From not being on the Macau start line since 2016 , I rode really tight for a lap or two and was a bit rubbish for a bit but I settled down into a decent pace and rhythm. I had a top ten finish on my radar before getting here and whilst I could be a bit disappointed with tenth, the lads who finished in front of me have been riding all year and are sharp, riding week in week out. The Ducati was fantastic, the team were ace and there was no pressure from anyone so it’s nice to go into winter with a race under my belt and I can look ahead now to 2019.”
Peter Hickman scored the overall race victory ahead of BMW team-mate Michael Rutter.
Macau GP Results 2018
- Peter Hickman GBR Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing
- Michael Rutter GBR Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing
- Martin Jessopp GBR Be Wiser Tak Chun Group Ducati by PBM
- Danny Webb GBR MGM by Penz134
- Gary Johnson GBR Briggs Equipment Kawasaki
- Horst Saiger AUT Saiger Racing
- David Johnson AUS PR Racing
- Derek Sheils IRL MGM by Penz13
- Davey Todd GBR Puraglobe Syntainics Racing
- John McGuinness GBR Be Wiser Tak Chun Group Ducati by PBM
Images Stephen Davison