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Nov 16, 2017

Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix: Glenn Irwin Fastest On Opening Day Of Practice

Glenn Irwin (4) on his Ducati Panigale R Superbike at Macau. Photo courtesy of the Macau Grand Prix Press Office.

Session: Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 51st Edition –

Practice 1

Weather: Clear and sunny

Date: November 16, 2017

Glenn Irwin Tops Opening Practice Times

The Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 51st Edition burst into life in spectacular style as the motorcycle heroes were first out on track in a free practice session expected to be exploratory and developmental - especially since they were the first racers to try the Guia Circuit after it closed to normal traffic only an hour or so earlier.

But nobody had explained that to Michael Rutter (SMT Bathams by MGM Macau BMW)or Glenn Irwin (Tak Chun Racing by PBM/Penz13 Ducati), and the two rode out of pitlane shoulder to shoulder and embarked on a contest which was nothing less than a hard-fought race.

At stake were lap times and honour but after three laps the 23-year veteran of the event and the second-year rookie outbraked each other into the escape road at Lisboa as neither was willing to make the right turn in second place.

After that, common sense prevailed and they circulated separate from each other, still trading lap times, while last year's winner Peter Hickman (SMT Bathams by MGM Macau BMW)kept running up against traffic while looking for his best time, and had to settle for 7th on the leaderboard.

Though Rutter was top of the time sheets for most of the session on 2.27.452, Irwin fired off a perfect performance in the long and vital middle sector to be faster by 1.43 seconds.

The session ended with Horst Saiger third on the Saiger Racing Kawasaki, while Derek Sheils put in a strong lap to be fourth on the Cookstown Burrows Suzuki. Manxman Dan Kneen found some space to go fifth at the end of the hour.

Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) is another rider expected to be a contender when the qualifying session begins this afternoon, but also look out for Conor Cummins (Padgett's Honda), Gary Johnson (Briggs Equipment Kawasaki) and Dean Harrison on his second visit with the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.