Macau GP: Hickman beats Rutter in bike race thriller
Peter Hickman triumphed in a thrilling Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix on Saturday after a tense 12-lap duel with Bathams/SMT Racing BMW teammate Michael Rutter.
It was Rutter, chasing a record ninth victory in the Macau race, who had led from the start - but he could not shake off a pursuing pack being led by Martin Jessopp on the BMW.
On lap seven, Jessopp made a move on Rutter and dived down the inside at Mandarin, briefly taking the lead before losing it again on the entry to Lisboa as his rival came back.
A lap later and Jessopp made the move stick into Lisboa, as he grabbed the front spot from Rutter and tried to pull clear.
But on lap 10, Jessopp was a sitting duck as he found Rutter and Hickman going either side of him on the run to Lisboa and demoting him to third.
He then suffered further heartbreak as he lost his gears and struggled to slow for Lisboa. Stuck in a false neutral, he had to slow dramatically to reset things before resuming the chase.
Rutter was then the man under pressure, as the following lap Hickman grabbed the lead on the run down to Lisboa.
Hickman was able to hold on to take the chequered flag 0.533 seconds ahead and secure his second consecutive Macau win.
"It is one of the hardest races I've ever done," he said afterwards. "I had never even seen the bike I was on until Thursday morning, which was really hard, and the last time I rode a BMW was a year ago. So it was a steep learning curve but we managed to do it."
Jessopp managed to make a recovery and challenged Rutter for second but could not complete the pass and came home third.
Conor Cummins finish in fourth place – more than 20 seconds adrift of the leading trio – after Glenn Irwin who had been in the lead pack early on slowed on the final lap with a suspected mechanical problem and had to retire to the pits.
Macau GP: Jessopp grabs bike pole
Marquez leads the way in Superprestigio Dirt Track practice