Stuart Easton has taken victory in the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix for the second successive season after holding off the challenge of Paul Bird Motorsport pair Conor Cummins and Ian Hutchinson in the Chinese enclave.
Easton broke the lap record en-route to victory but saw him run to the flag hampered in the latter stages of the race after running into problems with his rear tyre.
Easton led the pack away from the start on the opening lap and had built up a lead of over six seconds before his rear tyre began to show signs of excessive wear on lap six.
Cummins then started to close in and took the lead on the penultimate lap only for Easton to then retake the lead at Lisboa on the final lap – making the most of traffic to open up a slender lead as he took victory by three-tenths of a second.
“The first half of the race went really well but as the laps past I realised I had been working my tyres really hard and I started to really feel the grip going off,” Easton reflected. “Connor was pushing hard and with two laps to go I really felt I was in trouble. Connor passed me on the penultimate lap but I was absolutely determined to win again so on the last lap I pushed really hard and with what grip I had left I was able to out brake Connor into Lisboa.
“To win again and to set a new lap record has made this the perfect weekend. I must say a big thank you to Shaun Muir who gave me the opportunity to have my best season ever, all the team who have been fantastic and, of course, our sponsors.”
Cummins himself was still happy with second place despite missing out on the chance to secure victory.
"There was some confusion at the start of the race and by the time I got going, I'd been held up which had allowed Stuart to build a big lead," he said. "Little by little, I reeled him in and took the lead going into Fishermans on the last lap but one. I thought I could hold him off but Stuart has a lot of experience around here and I got a bad run through the backmarkers so he got by me again but I'm happy enough with second place.
"The bike has been great and the team is fantastic and I'm delighted with the result."
Ian Hutchinson on the second PBM Kawasaki machine came home in third place, his best ever finish in the event, after catching and re-passing Gary Johnson in the closing stages. Johnson settled for fourth ahead of German rider Rico Penzkofer in fifth. Six-time winner Michael Rutter had to settle for a disappointing sixth place
Frenchman Amaury Baratin won the Supersport 600 Class, beating Cheung Wai On by just over three seconds. Third was local rider Joao Fernandes.