Michael Rutter put in a blisteringly fast lap right at the end of qualifying to claim pole position for the 44th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
With six wins already under his belt, Rutter is out to make history by taking a seventh this weekend – and snaring pole is a good start. Riding for Team of Paris – AXA Ducati, Rutter lapped the 6.2km Guia street circuit in 2mins 23.714secs, beating Stuart Easton by just 0.084secs.
Easton, aboard the Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing Team machine, looked settled on pole position and he too had put in an awesome lap time of 2mins 23.798secs, only to be unseated by Rutter's late charge. Both riders are under the qualifying and race lap record by a good two seconds. It looks set to be an England verses Scotland battle on race day.
With the top two places well-and-truly spoken for, third spot belonged to TT maestro John McGuinness on the IGT/Sorrymate.com machine. Like the pole-sitter, McGuinness left it late in the hour-long session before posting his time, but secured a front row start. Completing the all-important front row is American Jeremy Toye on the Lee's Cycle Racing machine. Toye has been consistently running up at the sharp end and very much making his presence felt.
Heading row two is Simon Andrews on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki; last year was his Macau debut, but the Englishman's speed around the tricky city circuit has certainly been impressive. Lining up next to him are team-mates Gary Johnson and James Hillier on the MOCHA/IGT A.I.M. Suzukis. Johnson got off to a slow start due to front suspension issues, but some lighter springs sorted that out and he could be a dark horse for a podium finish following on from his fourth place last year. Completing row two is Jimmy Storrar on the DMR Racing machine.