McGuinness rules in Macau

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JOHN MCGUINNESS upheld his reputation as the coming man of the road racing scene with a dominant display in the Macau Grand Prix.

Riding a 180bhp Honda FireBlade originally built for this year’s TT-that-never-was the Lancastrian was fastest in each practice session and won the race by over five seconds from veteran Scot Roger Bennett.

He said: ” Macau’s a fun event but you have to be serious when you get on the bike. There was quite a bit of pressure on me, and we wanted to give the bike a good run as there aren’t many places where we can race it before the road racing season starts next season. I was surprised at how well the bike operated as we haven’t been able to test it. It’s been awesome in every session, fast and stable. My plan was to make a break and control the race. On the third lap I broke the lap record, although I had a little moment when I glanced off a barrier. I could see from my board that I had an 11-second lead at one stage and I was able to slow down a bit towards the end. ”

With last year’s winner Michael Rutter unable to make the trip, McGuinness’ main challenge was expected to come from six-times TT winner David Jefferies.

The 1999 winner suffered a torrid time, blowing up his engine his Yamaha R1 five laps into the opening free practice session and being forced to share team-mate Jason Griffiths’ bikes during qualifying. Despite managing just four laps the burly Yorkshireman was able to put the super R1 third on the grid, although he faced the prospect of sitting out the race when Griffiths’ bike suffered a similar fate late in the session.

Fellow competitor Ryan Farquhar, came to the rescue however, lending Jefferies his spare R1 engine, although Griffiths was not so lucky and was forced to watch from the sidelines.

Jefferies said: ” Given the circumstances I’m over the moon with the result. Ryan told me that the engine wasn’t as quick as the one in his bike, let alone my regular one, but I really want to thank his sponsor, Winston McAdoo, for letting us use it.

” Mind you, the race was nearly over when one of the Americans, Vincent Haskovec, tried to punt me off at the first corner. He fell, but I couldn’t believe that they tried to blame me for it. Do they really think that I’d try to brake test someone at 170mph?

” After that I tried to build up a decent rhythm. I got into third and built up a 14-second lead over Markus Barth. He must have put in a few really good laps though, as he took about six seconds out of me, but I pulled my finger out and upped the pace again. ”

Top ten

1. John MCGUINNESS GBR Honda – Honda Britain Paul Bird 37:54.656

2. Roger BENNETT GBR Ducati – Reve Red Bull Ducati 37:59

3. David JEFFERIES GBR Yamaha – V & M Racing 38:43.667

4. Markus BARTH GER Suzuki – Team Suzuki Schafer 38:57.429

5. Thomas HINTERREITER AUT Suzuki – Rubatto Racing 39:01.881

6. Gus SCOTT GBR Honda – Honda Britain Paul Bird 39:02.152

7. Ian LOUGHER GBR Suzuki – TAS Suzuki GB 39:02.582

8. Ryan FARQUHAR GBR Yamaha – McAdoo Racing 39:02.696

9. Brian MORRISON GBR Suzuki – BMR 39:04.836

10. Marcel KELLENBERGER SUI Kawasaki – Team Bolliger 39:07.848

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff