Macau GP: Jessopp on pole, Irwin shines in third

Martin Jessopp snatches pole for 50th Macau Grand Prix from Michael Rutter, newcomer Glenn Irwin qualifies third on PBM Ducati.
Macau GP: Jessopp on pole, Irwin shines in third

Martin Jessopp produced a sizzling lap to topple Michael Rutter and seize pole for the 50th Macau Grand Prix.

Jessopp, desperate to break his duck after finishing as the runner-up three times in the famous race in the Far East, went out with five minutes remaining and knocked eight-time winner Rutter off the top spot, lapping in 2m 24.656s.

Bathams/SMT BMW rider Rutter, who had held sway in free practice and first qualifying, was 0.233 seconds in arrears. The Midlands rider is fired up to challenge for a ninth victory at Macau and is primed to make a real fight of it during the 12-lap race on Saturday, which will take place from 7.30am GMT.

Newcomer Glenn Irwin produced a sensational performance on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati to clinch a remarkable third place on the grid, only 0.411s behind Jessopp's benchmark. The Northern Ireland rider created a stir with a brilliant effort on the Panigale R in only his first visit to the event and the 26-year-old will now fancy his chances of challenging for a stunning podium.

Behind the top three, Gary Johnson was fourth fastest on the BMW, while Scottish rider and four-time Macau winner Stuart Easton moved up to fourth (Bathams/SMT BMW). Horst Saiger, who came off at Lisboa on his Kawasaki, was next as only 1.5 seconds separated the top six.

Last year's winner Peter Hickman had to settle for seventh on the third Bathams/SMT BMW, with Honda Racing's John McGuinness and Conor Cummins eighth and ninth respectively.

Tyco BMW's Ian Hutchinson was two seconds off Jessopp's pole lap as he rounded out the top ten ahead of Manx rider Dan Kneen (Mar-Train Yamaha) and Didier Grams.

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