Michael Rutter has upped his game to bag provisional pole position for the 2016 Macau Grand Prix, taking top spot in the first qualifying session by a little less than a second from Martin Jessopp with TT hero Ian Hutchinson in third place.
Rutter increased his gap over Jessopp’s Riders BMW to 0.990s with a 2’24.793 and is edging closer to Stuart Easton’s lap record of 2’23.616 set in 2010. Jesssopp had run him close in the opening free practice session and managed a 2’25.783 in qualifying one. He had bagged top spot with the lap time as Rutter waited in pitlane but the veteran was not to be denied and went back out to claim P1 with his last effort.
The pair are some distance ahead of Hutchinson’s Tyco BMW. The Bingley man put in a 2’27.314 to bag the final front-row spot on a provisional grid, dropping two seconds off his own laptime. Honda’s John McGuinness climbed to fourth with a 2’27.344 while Penz13.com’s Gary Johnson also found a pile of pace to end in fifth on a 2’27.505.
Kawasaki-mounted Horst Saiger dropped from third in free practice to sixth even after finding two seconds while race rookie Glenn Irwin put his Be Wiser Ducati in seventh place with a 2’27.787, dropping three seconds the first session. Conor Cummins, on the second Honda, finished in eighth with reigning champion Peter Hickman and Easton, both on SMT/Bathams BMWs, completing the top ten.