Peter Hickman described his second consecutive victory at the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix as one of the hardest races he has ever experienced.
The British Superbike rider battled his way through from seventh place on the grid to force himself into contention. Hickman swooped late on the penultimate lap to snatch victory at the 50th anniversary meeting from eight-time winner Michael Rutter as the pair made it a one-two for Robin Croft's Bathams/SMT BMW team.
Hickman, who only rode the S1000RR for the first time during practice on Thursday after a full season on the GBmoto Kawasaki ZX-10R, timed his move to perfection, waiting in the wings as Rutter, Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) and superb newcomer Glenn Irwin (PBM Be Wiser Ducati) slogged it out for the lead.
“It's one of the hardest races I've ever done,” said the 29-year-old, whose Dunlop tyres appeared to last the distance better than the Metzelers used by Rutter.
“What a hard race that was. I knew I would be strong at the end. I got away fast and was hoping they'd start to come backward about halfway through the race. They didn't and I really had to dig in,” Hickman added.
“To get this team together and to have two of us on the podium has been a great effort by all involved and I am just thrilled to bits to win here again.”
Behind Hickman and Rutter, Jessopp claimed the final rostrum place after regrouping following a gear-change issue. The Somerset man had been leading the race when he dropped back to fourth.
However, he moved up to third after Irwin's retirement with an electrical problem on the Ducati on the penultimate lap and then pushed Rutter all the way to the line, eventually taking third.
Jessopp explained: “I was going into Lisboa, I went for the gear and there was just nothing there. “I was trying to change down, up – nothing. So I just coasted into the corner with no brakes, which was pretty scary. I started to pull over and as I slowed down it fired back into life.
“I put everything I had into the last lap and a half but I just wasn't good enough. It was tough but it's no excuse. I think they would have got past me anyway.”