Milwaukee Yamaha’s Michael has blitzed his opposition in the opening Macau GP practice session at the Guia circuit this morning, finishing more than two seconds faster than the returning Stuart Easton second and John McGuinness third.
Rutter’s last three laps were all quicker than the PBM Kawasaki man could match and the veteran finished on a 2’28.708. He had been leading Easton by almost 3.3s but a final flourish from the lap record holder saw him cut the gap to 2.156s.
Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness also put in a late charge to stake his claim. The Morecambe rider put his Pro Bolt Honda in third with a 2’31.055 to oust Austrian Horst Saiger who had been in the top three for the entire hour.
Saiger finished 3.4s behind Rutter and just ahead of last year’s winner Ian Hutchinson, who came from 11th place to fifth with his last lap of 2’32.310 which pushed down Martin Jessopp a place.
The Riders BMW man set the pace early doors with a 2’32.388 on his first flying lap but then couldn’t match it despite putting in a further 17 laps. Four visits to pitlane may indicate there is some setup work to do ahead of tomorrow.
Gary Johnson, who is racing for the first time since his TT horror crash, placed seventh and is 3.8s in arrears on the Quattro Kawasaki while Irish youngster Jamie Hamilton was eighth.
Macau rookie Peter Hickman impressed on the Ice Valley BMW, picking up ninth place on his first run out around the Guia circuit with Jimmy Storrar rounding out the top ten.