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Macau GP: Rutter tops first practice session

MIchael Rutter swoops late to post fastest lap during opening practice for the 50th Macau Grand Prix from Martin Jessopp.
Eight-time winner Michael Rutter produced a flying late lap to top the opening practice session at the 50th Suncity Macau Grand Prix.

Rutter, riding the Bathams/SMT BMW, knocked Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) from the head of the time sheets after setting his best time in 2m 27.022 seconds.

Jessopp, who has finished as the runner-up on three occasions at Macau, was three tenths behind while Horst Saiger started strongly on his Kawasaki, taking third as he completed the morning session, 2.2 seconds back on Rutter.

Tyco BMW's Ian Hutchinson was next up in fourth ahead of Honda Racing's John McGuinness, while Scotsman Stuart Easton rounded out the first six on the Bathams/SMT BMW. Easton, the lap record holder around the 3.8-mile Guia course, was 4.6 seconds off team-mate Rutter's fastest lap.

Lincolnshire's Gary Johnson ended the first practice session in seventh place on the Penz13.com BMW, while Ulsterman Glenn Irwin impressed on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, slotting into eighth as the British Superbike prospect makes his debut at the event. Irwin's fastest lap on the Panigale was five seconds off the top spot, but on this evidence, there is plenty more to come.

Last year's race winner, Peter Hickman, finished ninth on another of the Bathams/SMT BMW machines while Manx rider Conor Cummins completed the top ten (Honda Racing) ahead of Steve Mercer and Dan Cooper.

Irishman Derek Sheils was 15th fastest as he makes his Macau bow on John Burrows' Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki, one place in front of Ivan Lintin on the RC Express Kawasaki.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Rutter topped the opening practice session for the 2016 Macau Grand Prix.
Derek Sheils on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki at the Skerries 100.
Ian Hutchinson celebrates his Superstock victory.
Ian Hutchinson on his way to victory in the Superstock TT on the Tyco BMW.
Ian Hutchinson celebrates his victory in the RST Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT.
Ian Hutchinson on the Tyco BMW in the RST Superbike race.
Ian Hutchinson on the Tyco BMW during practice for the Isle of Man TT.
Ian Hutchinson on the Tyco BMW during practice for the Isle of Man TT.
Ian Hutchinson
Tyco BMW rider Ian Hutchinson
Alastair Seeley leads his Tyco BMW team-mate Ian Hutchinson in the Superbike race at the North West 200.
Honda Racing riders John McGuinness and Guy Martin
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
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.

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