This morning’s Sun City Group 52nd Edition Macau Grand Prix proved successful for Paul Bird Motorsport riders Martin Jessopp and John McGuinness with third and tenth place finishes respectively in a race shortened to eight laps due to a red flag.
Making his debut on the factory-supported Be Wiser Tak Chun Group by PBM Ducati Panigale R for the reigning Macau GP champions, 32-year-old Jessopp, from Yeovil in Somerset, started on the front row but dropped to fifth in the early laps.
Jessopp gradually made his way past Gary Johnson and Danny Webb to move up to third by half distance and set about chasing the leading pair of Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter. However, the gap was just too much and when the red flags came out on lap nine of the scheduled 12 lapper, a result was declared with Jessopp in third, leaving him to take his sixth podium around the 3.8-mile Guia street circuit
Meanwhile team-mate John McGuinness returned to the track the for the first time in two years following injury and rode sensibly to claim tenth at the flag. Starting on row three, the 23-times TT winner from Morecambe kept out of trouble and brought the Be Wiser Tak Chun Group by PBM Ducati Panigale R home safely to claim more significant progress since badly breaking his leg in May 2017.
Martin Jessopp: “I didn’t get a good start, but the key was not to panic as you can’t win round here on the first lap. I was happy to sit there but by the time I got up to third, there was too much of a gap. As crazy as it sounds, I’d love another race tomorrow as there is still so much more to come from both me and the bike. The PBM team have been fantastic but I’ve had so much to learn as I didn’t want to push too hard and make a mistake. A few changes now and we could perhaps take it to the two Aspire-Ho Bathams bikes but overall, I’m happy enough with a podium.”
John McGuinness: “Well that’s Macau done! I did my best and gave it all I had. It’s a tough place at the best of times so all things considered, I’m pleased to bring the bike home safely and a top ten is a bonus as there are some good riders out there. Massive thanks to PBM for giving me the opportunity again, I hope I didn’t let anyone down, well done to Peter on the victory and Michael as runner-up, and of course Martin on the PBM Ducati on the podium too.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “For Martin to get a podium on his very first time with the team is a magnificent achievement all round and we are delighted. It’s been a massive learning curve for him and he’s approached it very professionally, so he deserves this. John did a fantastic job and did as we all wanted, and that was to have a safe ride so a top ten is a bonus and he’s let nobody down. It was a shame that the race was stopped, and we wish the riders involved a speedy recovery.”
1 Peter Hickman GBR Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing
2 Michael Rutter GBR Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing
3 Martin Jessopp GBR Be Wiser Tak Chun Group Ducati by PBM
4 Danny Webb GBR MGM by Penz134
5 Gary Johnson GBR Briggs Equipment Kawasaki
6 Horst Saiger AUT Saiger Racing
7 David Johnson AUS PR Racing
8 Derek Sheils IRL MGM by Penz13
9 Davey Todd GBR Puraglobe Syntainics Racing
10 John McGuinness GBR Be Wiser Tak Chun Group Ducati by PBM
Pictures courtesy of Sports Bureau of Macau: Martin Jessopp (40) and John McGuinness (4)