Paul Bird Motorsport rider Martin Jessopp left it late to put in a final charge in final qualifying but will start tomorrow morning’s Sun City Group Macau Grand Prix 52nd Edition from the front row of the grid.
The 32 year old from Yeovil in Somerset was making his debut on the factory-supported and Metzeler-shod Be Wiser TAK CHUN Racing by PBM Ducati Panigale R which took victory in the hands of Glenn Irwin last year for the Penrith-based team who have won the event four times.
Five-times Macau podium finisher Jessopp will line up behind Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing team duo and multiple winners Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter for the 12-lap race which is scheduled to start at 15.40 local time on Saturday (07.40 GMT).
Meanwhile team-mate John McGuinness returned to the 3.8-mile Guia street circuit for the first time in two years following injury and gradually improved his times to end up in eighth overall. The 23-times TT winner from Morecambe won the GP on a 500cc Honda for PBM back in 2001 so goes in search of a podium to continue his remarkable recovery since badly breaking his leg in May 2017.
Martin Jessopp: “I’m really happy to be on the front row to be honest as it’s the first time on the Ducati and with the PBM team round here. After six years of riding the same bike previously, it’s been a big, big steep and fast learning curve but it’s only qualifying and there are a heap of lads very close to us. We still have work to do so we are going to try a few things in the warm up and we’ll hopefully be all set for the race.”
John McGuinness: “That’s second qualifying done and I’m happy enough with my grid position for the race. I was a little bit rusty and nervous and rightly so after not being on a proper Superbike for a couple of years. Everything came back to me and it started flowing and I got into a bit of a rhythm towards the end and went a bit faster. I’m looking forward to the race, I’m just going to go out and enjoy myself and if I do that, we can hopefully bring it home safely and get a decent result for the team.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “We are really happy with the qualifying results for both Martin and John considering the limited time they have had on the Be Wiser TAK CHUNG PBM Ducati Panigale 1199 so far. Both riders are still looking to improve things before tomorrow’s race and hopefully with the changes the team will make to both bikes, it will stand us in good stead for the race.”
For further information, please visit www.pbmuk.net and reliable and free live streaming is available via our good friends at MCN: https://www.motorcyclenews.com/sport/tt-road-races/2018/november/live-watch-the-52nd-macau-grand-prix/
1 Peter Hickman 2.23.904
2 Michael Rutter 2.25.044
3 Martin Jessopp 2.25.356
4 Gary Johnson 2.25.733
5 Danny Webb 2.26.352
6 Horst Saiger 2.27.247
7 David Johnson 2.27.545
8 John McGuinness 2.27.601
9 Derek Sheils 2.27.814
10 Sam West 2.28.690
Pictures attached (courtesy of Sports Bureau of Macao): Martin Jessopp (40) and John McGuinness (4)
Notes to Editors:
Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) are winners of over 180 races in British Superbike Championship, MotoGP CRT, World Superbike Championship, 125cc, 250cc, Supersport British Championships, Superstock National Championships, Isle of Man TT, North West 200, Daytona, Macau GP, and British domestic races. Points scorers in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc GP’s, Points scorers in World Supersport, podium finishers in WSB, Superpole winners in World Superbike. They are based at Langwathby near Penrith in Cumbria.