Road Racing

Macau Grand Prix: Jessopp takes pole position

Maiden pole position for Jessopp, McGuinness down in sixth

MARTIN Jessopp has taken his maiden pole position for Saturday's 49th Edition Macau Grand Prix motorcycle race by over one second.

Riders BMW's Jessopp put in a succession of hot laps, the fastest at under 2:25s, which no one was able to match. Macau veteran Michael Rutter put in a lap 1.137s slower than Jessopp to take second place on the grid for Saturday's race.

Jessopp, on the BMW S1000RR, was just short of beating Stuart Easton's lap record, set in 2010, of 2:23.616s.

The 30-year-old's first lap in Q2 was straight under the 2:28s mark. He later lapped at 2:25.371s, while Rutter's best was two seconds slower. With only a quarter of an hour left of the session, Jessopp managed 2:24.802s, giving him pole position.

There seems to be potential for Jessopp to break Easton's lap record in the race, as the Yeovil rider was slowed by Horst Saiger in sector two after setting the quickest sector-one time. 

Rutter was battling with BMW team-mate Gary Johnson with lap times. The Lincolnshire rider put in a 2:26.879s lap. With only quarter of an hour left and as pressure mounted from Jessopp, Johnson was pushed back to third and then fourth as Rutter re-claimed second. Briggs BMW's Peter Hickman put himself in third with a 2:26.700s lap with only nine minutes remaining. 

As Johnson's grid places were slipping away slowly, 2013 Macau Grand Prix winner Ian Hutchinson shoved him down again to fifth as he finished the second qualifying session less than a second slower than Hickman. 

Q1's top man John McGuinness was forced to settle for sixth on-board his Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade while his team-mate Conor Cummins finished seventh. 

Austria's Saiger finished eighth with a 2:27.953s lap, while 2014's Macau Grand Prix winner Easton put in a late fast lap to finish the session in ninth. Lee Johnston rounded out the top 10. 

The session was red-flagged early on as Tom McHale crashed hard at Mandarin corner. McHale reportedly has fractures and has been taken to hospital, but is conscious and talking. 

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