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Macau GP: Hickman claims sensational victory

Louth's Peter Hickman wins the Macau Grand Prix in only his second appearance at the event from Martin Jessopp and Michael Rutter in BMW 1-2-3.
Peter Hickman has sensationally won the 49th Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix in only his second year as the prestigious event in South China.

The Louth rider, third fastest in qualifying on the Briggs Equipment BMW, relentlessly hunted down pole man Martin Jessopp, who had led the way on his Riders Motorcycles BMW, before making his move in the closing stages on the brakes Lisboa.

Hickman was on a charge and within half a lap had opened a cushion of one second over Jessopp, which he extended to a commanding margin of six seconds at the finish.

Eight-time winner Michael Rutter completed the podium places in third on the Penz13.com BMW to seal a clean sweep of the rostrum for the S1000RR, 15.6 seconds down on the winner.

Jessopp lived up to his form from practice and qualifying as the Somerset rider made a flying start to the 12-lap race, quickly taking the lead from Rutter and opening a gap of more than two seconds at the front over Hickman.

On the opening laps, Jessopp was stretching his advantage and the early signs were that the British Superbike regular was set to dominate.

However, Jessopp's lead stabilised at around 2.4 seconds and Hickman began to reel in his fellow BMW rider, putting together a series of fast laps to reduce the deficit to only one second.

Clearly the fastest man on track, Hickman hauled himself onto Jessopp's rear wheel and the inevitable pass soon followed as he assumed control for the first time at Lisboa with four laps left.

Jessopp had no response as Hickman disappeared into the distance, breezing away and closing out his maiden victory at Macau by more than six seconds.

It was Hicky's second big international road racing success of 2015 after he won the second Superbike race in damp conditions at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

The 28-year-old failed to compete in last year's race after crashing out of opening qualifying but made amends around the 3.8-mile Guia street course in perfect style.

Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson had trailed the front pair by 13 seconds on the PBM Kawasaki in third but fell backwards towards the end of the race, with Lincolnshire's Gary Johnson (Penz13.com BMW) and Rutter charging past the Bingley Bullet as they disputed the final place on the podium.

It was Rutter who prevailed, while Honda Racing's John McGuinness put a stunning pass on Johnson on the final lap, riding around his outside, to snatch a solid fourth, as he finished two seconds behind Rutter.

Hutchinson was bumped down to sixth, with the 2013 winner crossing the line 19.2 seconds behind Hickman, with Conor Cummins on the second of the Honda Racing machines and Austrian Horst Saiger (Kawasaki) completing the top eight.

Northern Ireland's Lee Johnston was down in ninth place on the East Coast Racing BMW with David Johnson on the Ice Valley BMW finalising the top ten.

Dan Cooper (Space Centre Honda) and Jimmy Storrar (PBM Kawasaki) were next ahead of American Mark Miller on the Splitlath EBR, with the top 15 completed by Steve Heneghan (Yamaha) and Allan-Jon Venter (Honda), followed by Ireland's Brian McCormack (Tag Honda) in 16th.

Scotsman Stuart Easton, who dominated the race in 2014, was a retirement on the SMT Yamaha R1 with a technical problem.

Related Pictures

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Peter Hickman on the Briggs BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.
Lee Johnston has teamed up with Ryan Farquhar to race a KMR Kawasaki in the NI Air Ambulance colours at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Alastair Seeley with the Tyco BMW he will race at the North West 200.
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Michael Dunlop, Carl Cox, [Credit: Holeshot PR]
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Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Guy Martin, Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
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Dan Hegarty won the TT Privateers Championship in 2016.
Peter Hickman will ride for Smiths Racing in 2017 at the international road races and in the British Superbike Championship.
Peter Hickman won the Macau Grand Prix for the second year running on the Bathams/SMT BMW.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.
Peter Hickman on the Bathams/SMT BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.
Peter Hickman on the Bathams/SMT BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.

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