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Portuguese rider fatally injured in Macau GP qualifying

By Stephen Davison -

TT & road races

 15 November 2012 16:09

A day of carnage and tragedy marred the opening practice session of the 2012 Macau Grand Prix. After a series of rare crashes earlier in the day Portuguese rider Luis Carreira lost his life in a crash on the third lap of the afternoon qualifying session.

35 year old Carreira, who finished fourth in Macau in 2008, died soon after crashing his Benimoto/Rider/Cetelem GSXR 1000cc Suzuki into the armco on the exit of the final bend.

The experienced TT and North West 200 competitor was competing in his sixth Macau Grand Prix.

Three Macau rookies crashed heavily in the morning’s free practice session on the 3.8 mile Guia circuit. Japanese TT racer Yoshinari Matsushita took a tumble after running out of brakes on the approach to Melcoo hairpin and both Stefano Bonetti (Speed Motor Kawasaki) and Jamie Hamilton (KMR Kawasaki) crashed their ZX10s at the same spot at the bottom of Moorish Hill.

Matsushita and Hamilton were able to return to action in the afternoon qualifying session, which was cut to only three laps after the Carreira crash, but Bonetti was detained in hospital with a broken leg.

All of this mayhem distracted from the fact that Michael Rutter, riding an SMT Honda, posted the fastest time in the opening qualifying session ahead of Martin Jessopp on the Riders Ducati and his SMT Honda teammate John McGuinness.

TT legend McGuinness had topped the timesheets in the morning free practice but it was seven times Macau winner Rutter who took pole before the red flags came out in the afternoon session.

‘We only had three laps but I tried to make the most of them.’ he said afterwards. ‘I got my head down on the second lap and went for it. This is the first time that I have raced the Honda and we changed the gearing and rear suspension after the morning practice and it made a difference.’

Like several other riders including Jessopp, McGuinness and Didier Grams, the Birmingham rider was critical of some new resurfacing work at the top of San Francisco Hill.

‘It is really bumpy, my bike has both wheels off the ground now on the approach to Maternity- it’s like a speed ramp.’ he explained.

The second qualifying session is scheduled for 7.30am on Friday morning (11.30pm Thursday UK time).