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Nov 13, 2013

Rutter Fastest In Opening Practice At Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix

Michael Rutter (1) heads out for practice at the 47th Star River - Windsor Arch Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Eight-time race winner Michael Rutter was fastest during the opening practice for the 47th edition of the Star River-Windsor Arch Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, Thursday, in Macau, China.

Rutter, riding the same SMT Racing Honda CBR1000RR he rode to victory in 2012, lapped the 3.8-mile Guia Street Circuit in 2:27.489. That’s faster than Rutter’s 2012 qualifying time of 2:27.545.

Rutter faced a strong challenge with several riders holding the top spot at points of the 60-minute session, but in the closing stages Rutter dropped two seconds to top the practice.

“The track was pretty clean, probably the best condition I’ve ever seen it on a Thursday,” Rutter told Roadracingworld.com. “That’s probably due to the cars being on it all this past weekend.

“My bike feels pretty good. There’s a few things we’re going to look at to make it better. That lap came when I got a clean lap. I was held up by traffic on the three laps before that one, then I got clear and was able to do that time.”

James Storrar was on top of the practice order with a 2:29.837 on his DMR Racing BMW S1000RR until Rutter turned in his last-lap flyer. Storrar said the key was getting reacquainted with the daunting street circuit after not seeing it since last November.

“At first I couldn’t get in the groove,” Storrar told Roadracingworld.com. “It’s tough coming back after a year and remembering where to go and where the bumps are and all. Then I started to relax and find the lines and the times came.”

Horst Saiger was third-best with a 2:30.686 on his Saiger-racing.com Kawasaki ZX-10R, which the Austrian swears is so stock that it has never had its cylinder head off.

“The session was good, no big problems,” Saiger told Roadracingworld.com. “I didn’t have a lot of grip with the front. I was losing the front and running wide. We tried some different settings, but nothing worked. At the end I tried to calm down and stay smooth, and then I did my fastest time.”

Saiger said he planned to try a softer front tire in the first qualifying session Thursday afternoon.

American Jeremy Toye was near the top of the order during most of the session in spite of never riding his Penz13.com BMW Racing Team S1000RR before the start of practice. Toye, a former podium finisher at the Macau GP, ended up eighth with a time of 2:32.612 during practice Thursday. But Toye said there was more to come after his team adjusts the powerful BMW Superbike’s chassis to his liking.

“This bike is definitely not my taste as far as suspension goes. We’ve got a little work to do,” Toye said. “This is the first time I’ve ridden for a team and the bike they gave me wasn’t too stiff. The problem is it was too soft. Every time I came in we made it a little stiffer and it got better, so we’re going to keep going in that direction.”

Toye’s countryman Mark Miller, another former podium finisher at Macau, also had not ridden his new Splitlath Redmond Racing EBR 1190RS before the start of practice, but the veteran came away with positive results – a 13th-fastest 2:35.387.

“I went faster in the first practice than I went on the Aprilia here last year, and I was much more familiar with that bike,” said Miller. “The EBR does a lot of things well. The main problem we’re dealing with right now is the rear is dancing around anywhere there’s bumps.”

Miller’s teammate Brandon Cretu, the third American in the field, reported similar rear stability issues with his EBR 1190RS, but he also went faster in the first practice than he did in 2012, his debut year at the Macau GP. Cretu’s time in practice was 2:44.613, which ranked him 28th out of 32 riders.

The first of two qualifying sessions is slated for 3:50 p.m. Macau time Thursday. The 47th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix is scheduled to happen Saturday, November 16 at 3:30 p.m. local time.

Star River – Windsor Arch Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix 47th Edition Guia Street Circuit Macau, China November 14, 2013 Provisional Practice Results:

1. Michael Rutter, UK (Hon CBR1000RR), Metzeler, 2:27.489 2. James Storrar, UK (BMW S1000RR), Pirelli, 2:29.837 3. Horst Saiger, Austria (Kaw ZX-10R), Metzeler, 2:30.686 4. John McGuinness, UK (Hon CBR1000RR), Dunlop, 2:31.264 5. Ian Hutchinson, UK (Yam YZF-R1), 2:31.540 6. Martin Jessopp, UK (BMW S1000RR), Metzeler, 2:32.121 7. Gary Johnson, UK (Hon CBR600RR), 2:32.589 8. Jeremy Toye, USA (BMW S1000RR), Pirelli, 2:32.612 9. Stephen Thompson, UK (Suz GSX-R1000), 2:32.724 10. Didier Grams, Germany (BMW S1000RR), 2:33.102 11. David Johnson, Austria (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:33.290 12. Dan Kneen, UK (Suz GSX-R1000), 2:34.120 13. Mark Miller, USA (EBR 1190RS), 2:35.387 14. Lee Johnston, UK (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:36.726 15. Davy Morgan, UK (Suz GSX-R1000), 2:36.894 16. Marc Fissette, Belgium (Suz GSX-R1000), 2:38.063 17. Roman Stamm, Switzerland (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:38.378 18. Jamie Hamilton, UK (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:38.757 19. Andre Pires, Portugal (Suz GSX-R1000), 2:39.276 20. Ian Lougher, UK (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:39.845 21. Paul Shoesmith, UK (BMW S1000RR), 2:40.627 22. Steve Heneghan, Ireland (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:40.816 23. Ben Wylie, UK (BMW S1000RR), 2:40.881 24. Dan Cooper, UK (BMW S1000RR), 2:40.942 25. Herve Gantner, Switzerland (BMW S1000RR), 2:42.127 26. Nuno Caetano, Portugal (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:42.346 27. Sandor Bitter, Hungary (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:42.388 28. Brandon Cretu, USA (EBR 1190RS), Dunlop, 2:44.613 29. Allann-Jon Venter, South Africa (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:44.813 30. Graham English, UK (BMW S1000RR), 2:46.503 31. Brian McCormack, Ireland (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:46.509 32. Dean Harrison, UK (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:48.011

110% of Fast Time: 2:42.238