Road Racing

Hickman crowned Macau Grand Prix champ

Only his second time at Macau, but the Louth-based rider takes the win

PETER Hickman has become the 2015 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix champion after crossing the line 6.267s ahead of Martin Jessopp, who started from pole position. 

Hickman gave the Briggs BMW team their first win on the roads by a huge 6.267s margin on only his second visit to the prestigious Macau Grand Prix, with Jessopp finishing second and veteran Michael Rutter finishing third. 

With four laps to go, Hickman took the lead from Jessopp as he went flew past at Lisboa to then lap more than a second faster than any other rider on track. A blistering pace meant Jessopp had no chance of taking the top step of the podium, but did manage to finish over nine seconds quicker than Rutter. 

Jessopp had the initial pace with a 2.3s lead after overhauling Rutter, but it was Louth-based rider Hickman who set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:24.940s, bringing Jessop's gap down to just 1.246s with seven laps to go. 

Gary Johnson was eyeing up a podium position as he passed Hutchinson at Lisboa. Despite struggling in qualifying, Stuart Easton managed to find some pace to pass both Hondas of John McGuinness and Conor Cummins. Easton then pitted at the end of that lap. 

Hickman clawed back Jessopp's lead to just under a second with six laps remaining. With only four laps left, he then took the lead and opened a gap of 0.875s in one lap.

Johnson and Rutter flew past Hutchinson while McGuinness found some pace in the latter part of the race to put himself in potential contention for third as Rutter and Johnson started to fight it out. 

Speaking at Macau, Hickman said: 'It feels absolutely fantastic! This is only my second time in Macau. I’ve not been doing the road racing scene for very long, but my British Superbike championships have been pretty strong the last couple of years. It’s fantastic to be able to transfer between the two.

'We all knew from the qualifying and practices that Martin [Jessopp] was really strong, and the pace that he had compared to everyone else seemed too much, to be quite honest. I was on the Dunlop tyres and [Jessopp and Rutter] are on different, so we knew that we were going to be strong for the second half of the race, and I figured that Martin was going to pull away in the first five or six laps and then hopefully we’d come back to him.

'Martin put in such a fast lap. I thought, I just need to be clean, don’t make any mistakes and just be as fast as I can. As soon as I had a chance, I was close enough at Lisboa and I passed him straight away. Fortunately the plan worked.'

Hutchinson's tyres were depleted by the end of the 12-lap race and he had to settle for sixth. McGuinness rode home to fourth just ahead of Johnson after racing round the Lincolnshire rider at the left-hander of Dona Maria.

Cummins finished seventh, Austria's Horst Saiger finished eighth, Lee Johnston ninth and David Johnson completed the top 10. 

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