A truly international field of road racing and endurance specialists will line up on the grid for the 43rd running of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix next month.
Riders from ten countries and regions, from across Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA, will do battle over 15 laps of the Guia Circuit on Saturday, November 21st, and the irresistible mix of exciting newcomers and seasoned professionals holds the promise of a superb race.
All of last year’s top-eight finishers return to the legendary Guia Circuit in 2009, including last year’s victor and British Superbike star Stuart Easton, who will race with Hydrex IGT Honda.
The 26-year old Scotsman took his maiden victory in the Far East Classic last year after a dramatic battle with six-time winner Michael Rutter. The win led to a full time ride with Hydrex Honda in the British Superbike Championship where he currently lies third.
As well as Rutter, who returns this year with Team of Paris-AXA in a bid to finally clinch that elusive seventh victory, Easton will be joined by 2001 winner and third placed rider last year, team mate John McGuinness.
Last year’s pole man, Conor Cummins, returns to Macau for the third time, this year with the Paul Bird works Kawasaki World Superbikes Team.
At 23-year-old, the Manxman is among the crop of talented young riders who are quickly making a name for themselves at Macau and around the world.
At the 2009 Isle of Man TT, Cummins racked up two podium places, and in the Ulster Grand Prix Dundrod 150 Superbike race he shattered the lap record with on his way to victory.
Joining Cummins on the team are multi-AMA Endurance Champion Mike Barnes from the USA, and Brit Ian Hutchinson, who last year finished fifth and seventh, respectively.
Hutchinson had a successful Isle of Man TT this year, with the 30-year-old taking victory in both the first Supersport TT and in the first Superstock TT races.
Joining the 12-strong British contingent are DMR Racing teammates James Storrar and Steve Mercer. Storrar, 22, and Mercer, 27, both return to Macau after making their debuts in 2008.
James McBride returns to Macau for his fifth visit, this year aboard a JV Racing Yamaha, having previously placed in the top ten three times, while regular Macau rider Stephen Thompson will compete on a Sloan Developments Honda.
Teammates Gary Johnson and James Hillier will compete on a pair of AIM Racing Suzukis. British Superstock Championship regular Hillier makes his debut at Macau in 2009, along with Mark Buckley, on a Jentin Racing Yamaha.
Both riders were top ten finishers at the Isle of Man TT this year, and Buckley also finished third in the TTxGP, the first zero emissions TT race.
Team of Paris-AXA rider, 25-year-old Simon Andrews, is another newcomer. Andrews has been competing in the British Superbike Championship since 2006, finishing eighth last year, and has also raced in the World Superbike Championship.
Dutchman Branko Srdanov makes his Macau debut with Cubic Macau Racing Team, while endurance specialist Horst Saiger of Germany will compete with BMW Macau Racing Team.
Moto Clube de Faro rider Nuno Farias will also race at Macau for the first time, joining Luis Carreira (Benimoto Suzuki Cetelem) and Tiago Magalhaes (AG Racing) as the three Portuguese riders in the 43rd edition of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
After finishing a career-best fourth in 2008, Carreira will no doubt have his sights firmly set on a podium finish.
Magalhaes will ride in the 600cc Supersport category, one of eight entries in the class, which includes Team of Paris-AXA rider Amaury Baratin of France aboard a Triumph, as well as a local contingent of drivers, including Joao Fernandes with Cubic Macau Racing Team, Sou Sio Hong and Ip Weng Keong, all of whom call the Guia Circuit home. Finishing third in the 600 Supersport category in 2008, Fernandes this year competed in the FIM World Endurance Championship.
Also in the 600 Supersport Class are Hong Kong’s Jason Broome, on a Yamaha, and Cheung Wai On aboard a Suzuki.
Joining Rutter, Baratin and Andrews on the Team of Paris-AXA team is Frenchman Gerald Muteau, runner-up in the 600 Supersport Category last year.
In 2009, Muteau will compete on a Kawasaki 1000 for what will be his fourth visit.
The truly international field will see a four-strong American team. In addition to Barnes, are Mark “Thriller” Miller with Celtic Racing, Jeremy Toye with Lee’s Cycles Racing and Scott Jensen with Moto Garage Racing.
The Yamaha Austria Racing Team recently clinched the World Endurance Championship and return with their regular Macau rider Austrian Thomas Hinterreiter, third in 2007, while German Rico Penzkofer will race with BMW Macau Racing Team along with compatriot Saiger.
43rd Macau GP entry list
1 Stuart EASTON GBR Hydrex IGT Honda Honda 1000
2 John MCGUINNESS GBR Hydrex IGT Honda Honda 1000
3 Michael RUTTER GBR Team of Paris - AXA Racing Kawasaki 1000
4 Conor CUMMINS IOM PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team Kawasaki 1000
5 Amaury BARATIN FRA Team of Paris - AXA Racing Triumph *675
6 Gerald MUTEAU FRA Team of Paris - AXA Racing Kawasaki 1000
7 Thomas HINTERREITER AUT Yamaha Austria Racing Team Yamaha 1000
8 Ian HUTCHINSON GBR PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team Kawasaki 1000
9 James MCBRIDE GBR PAZZO/EAST Coast Racing Yamaha 1000
10 Mark MILLER USA Celtic Racing Suzuki 1000
11 Stephen THOMPSON GBR Robinson Concrete Honda Honda 1000
12 Simon ANDREWS GBR Team of Paris - AXA Racing Kawasaki 1000
13 Rico PENZKOFER GER BMW Macau Racing Team BMW 1000
15 James STORRAR GBR DMR Racing Yamaha 1000
17 Steve MERCER GBR DMR Racing Yamaha 1000
18 SOU Sio Hong MAC Sonic Racing Performance Yamaha *600
19 Tiago MAGALHAES POR AG Racing Suzuki *600
21 Nuno FARIAS POR Moto Clube de Faro Honda 1000
23 Branko SRDANOV NED Cubic Macau Racing Team Yamaha 1000
31 Horst SAIGER AUT BMW Macau Racing Team BMW 1000
32 Joao FERNANDES MAC Cubic Macau Racing Team Yamaha *600
33 Luis CARREIRA POR Benimoto Suzuki Cetelem Suzuki 1000
34 Mike BARNES USA PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team Kawasaki 1000
35 CHEUNG Wai On HKG CHEUNG Wai On Suzuki *600
36 Michael PEARSON GBR BTS Racing Honda 998
37 James HILLIER GBR AIM Racing Suzuki 1000
39 Jason BROOME HKG Jason BROOME Yamaha *600
57 Jeremy TOYE USA Lee’s Cycles Racing Honda 1000
61 Scott JENSEN USA Moto Garage Racing Suzuki 1000
66 Mark BUCKLEY GBR Jentin Racing Yamaha 1000
69 Gary JOHNSON GBR A.I.M. Racing Suzuki 1000
70 IP Weng Keong MAC Sonic Racing Kawasaki *600