Going for a record seventh win in the Macau Grand Prix, Michael Rutter dominated the opening qualifying session in China today on the Team of Paris/ AXA Ducati.
Having topped the leaderboard in this morning's 7.30am free practice session, Rutter finished 0.2 second up on Stuart Easton on the Paul Bird Kawasaki in the afternoon's qualifying.
In the warm but cloudy conditions, Easton, chasing his third win in a row in Macau, was almost two seconds up on third and fourth placed American Jeremy Toye (Suzuki) and Simon Andrews on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki. Andrews is having only his second ride at Macau.
TT legend and Macau winner in 2001, John McGuinness, was fifth quickest with
Easton's PBM Kawasaki teammate Keith Amor finishing out the top six.
There will be a second qualifying session on Friday morning before Saturday afternoon's race which, the 44th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Michael Rutter's first win at Macau came in 1998 and his last victory was in 2005.
That win equalled Ron Haslam's record of six wins on the 3.8 mile Guia circuit in the former Portuguese colony, but the BSB star would not be drawn on his chances of beating Rocket Ron's tally on Saturday.
"I hope so." was his only response when he was asked about his chances of that seventh victory.