Stuart Easton has joined motorcycling legends Ron Haslam and Carl Fogarty in winning the Macau Grand Prix after resisting a sustained attack from six-time winner Michael Rutter.
Easton qualified in sixth position aboard the Shaun Muir Racing-run Doosan Honda, but after stating following qualifying that he was confident of a podium position, he made a strong start to move into first by the opening bend.
Third became second on the following lap when he overtook Rutter on the run down to Lisboa, but it wasn't until Cameron Donald retired from the lead that Easton assumed the advantage.
From there he was forced to contend with the attentions of a rejuvenated Rutter, who broke down a substantial advantage to close to within less than a second heading onto the final lap of the race.
Nonetheless, Easton picked up his pace to keep Rutter at bay and win by almost three seconds, much to his delight.
"After qualifying, I told the team that I couldn't fault the bike and was feeling very confident about the race. I got a great start and by the third lap had settled in nicely behind Cameron. Unfortunately for him he retired leaving me with a three-second lead over Michael on the Ducati.
“I think it was fairly even between Michael and myself and during the mid-part of the race I have to admit I was feeling the pressure of leading. In the latter stages we had to clear groups of backmarkers which really focussed my mind and I realised I could win. I pushed hard during the last few laps I really dug deep and eventually finished almost three seconds ahead of Michael.
"I must compliment the team because without doubt that's the best race bike I've ever ridden. The team have worked so hard and the result speaks for itself."
Team owner Muir, meanwhile, was thrilled with Easton's performance, particularly as it was his first outing with the team.
"Stuart rode a hard, fast and more importantly, a safe race on his very first outing for our team and our Macau GP sponsors, Doosan. I could not have hoped for a better outcome and the result is a testimony to all the hard work from all the team."