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The first ever Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix took place in 1967 with race winner Hiroshi Hasegawa completing the 30-lap race in just under two hours and at an average speed of 60.22mph. The race remained over this distance for the next 12 years and speeds, naturally increased during this period; indeed, just two years later the race was won at an average speed of just over 64mph.
In 1973, Ken Araoka set a new lap record of 2m56.68s, a speed of 77.43mph, and became the first rider to lap the Guia circuit in under three minutes. Four years later and British rider Mick Grant smashed that mark lapping some eight seconds quicker and recording a speed of 81.24mph, the first rider to break the 80mph barrier.
British riders were now in the ascendancy and the 1980s saw Charlie Williams and Ron Haslam both setting outright lap records. However, GP ace Kevin Schwantz stole it from them in 1988 when he dominated the two legs on his Pepsi Suzuki. German Superbike rider Peter Rubatto became the first mainland Europe rider to hold the record in 1990 but he only held it for a year before another Grand Prix rider Didier de Radigues set a lap of 87.76mph in 1991.
Speeds were edging ever closer to the 90mph mark throughout the 1990s and although 500cc bikes continued to be present, in the hands of riders including Carl Fogarty, Steve Hislop and Mike Edwards, it was Michael Rutter and the Honda RC45 750cc Honda that finally achieved the mark in 1998 with a speed of 90.74mph.
The next milestone was the first sub 2m30m lap and it came just three years later with race winner John McGuinness posting a lap of 2m29.173s, 91.77mph. Rutter took the record back in 2003 but it was 2006 that saw a major jump in times with Steve Plater taking over two seconds off Rutter’s time. A year later, McGuinness shaved a further second and a half off the time and we were now close to a sub 2m25s lap.
That came in 2010 with Stuart Easton having that particular honour and not only does this remain the outright lap record, it also remains the only lap of the 3.8-mile circuit to be completed at more than 95mph. Meanwhile, Glenn Irwin recorded the fastest ever lap by a newcomer in 2016, his lap currently making him the seventh fastest rider of all time.
Current records that are held at the Macau GP include:
Outright lap record
Stuart Easton (Kawasaki ZX-10R) – 2m23.616s – 95.32mph – 2010
Supersport 600cc lap record
Steve Allan (Kawasaki ZX-6R) – 2m31.625s – 90.22mph – 2005
|1.||Stuart Easton||1000 Kawasaki||2010||2m23.616s||95.32mph|
|2.||Michael Rutter||1098 Ducati||2010||2m24.070s||94.96mph|
|3.||Martin Jessopp||1000 BMW||2016||2m24.931s||94.17mph|
|4.||Peter Hickman||1000 BMW||2015||2m24.940s||94.45mph|
|5.||Jeremy Toye||1000 BMW||2010||2m25.112s||94.28mph|
|6.||Ian Hutchinson||1000 Yamaha||2013||2m25.419s||94.14mph|
|7.||Glenn Irwin||1199 Ducati||2016||2m25.660s||93.92mph|
|8.||Gary Johnson||1000 Suzuki||2010||2m25.803s||93.84mph|
|9.||John McGuinness||1000 Honda||2007||2m26.096s||93.70mph|
|10.||Conor Cummins||1000 Kawasaki||2009||2m26.251s||93.54mph|
|11.||Simon Andrews||1000 Kawasaki||2010||2m26.286s||93.52mph|
|12.||Steve Plater||1000 Yamaha||2007||2m26.415s||93.51mph|
|13.||Thomas Hinterreiter||1000 Yamaha||2007||2m26.820s||93.26mph|
|14.||Horst Saiger||1000 Kawasaki||2015||2m26.889s||93.12mph|
|15.||Rico Penzkofer||1000 BMW||2009||2m27.208s||92.93mph|
|16.||Jimmy Storrar||1000 BMW||2013||2m27.567s||92.79mph|
|17.||Cameron Donald||1000 Suzuki||2008||2m27.661s||92.73mph|
|18.||Luis Carreira||1000 Suzuki||2009||2m28.129s||92.35mph|
|19.||Mark Miller||1000 Suzuki||2009||2m28.233s||92.29mph|
|20.||Derek Sheils||1000 Suzuki||2016||2m28.242s||92.28mph|
|21.||Gerald Muteau||1000 Kawasaki||2009||2m28.317s||92.23mph|
|22.||James Hillier||1000 Suzuki||2010||2m28.447s||92.16mph|
|23.||Stephen Thompson||1000 Honda||2009||2m28.569s||92.08mph|
|24.||Dan Cooper||1000 BMW||2016||2m28.688s||92.00mph|
|25.||Lee Johnston||1000 Honda||2014||2m28.747s||91.97mph|
The undisputed king of Macau is without a shadow of doubt Michael Rutter. Not only is he the most successful in terms of outright wins, with eight, he’s also stepped onto the podium comfortably more times than any other rider.
Indeed, Rutter has more than twice the total of second placed John McGuinness, with the Midlands rider taking his 17th podium in 2016, and given he’s attended the event on 22 occasions, that’s an extremely impressive conversion rate.
McGuinness has been going to Macau almost as long as Rutter with 21 visits and although his one and only win at the event came back in 2001, he’s managed eight podiums in total. However, despite continuing to rack up leaderboard positions, you have to go back to 2008 to find the last time he stepped onto the podium.
First held in 1967, three riders have taken six podiums at the Far East venue, Phillip McCallen, Ron Haslam and Japanese rider Sadao Asami. All of Haslam’s rostrums were race wins as he took six victories between 1981 and 1987, the only absence being 1984 when he missed the event.
Asami, a star of the 750cc and 350cc World Championships in the late 1970s, took third in both 1974 and 1975 before taking a hat-trick of victories between 1978 and 1980, the first rider to achieve such a feat. He was knocked off his lofty perch by Haslam in 1981 though and that second place proved to be his final rostrum appearance at the Guia circuit.
McCallen, like all of the other road races he competed in, was always a potential race winner although he only managed this once at Macau, in 1996. However, he took second in 1989, 1995 and 1997 and third in ’91 and ’94.
Next up is Stuart Easton with five podiums, four of those being race wins in 2008-10 and 2014. His other appearance on the rostrum came in 2004 when he rode the 999 Monstermob Ducati. That figure was matched in 2016 by Martin Jessopp, the only rider in the top ten not have stood on the top step of the podium. The Yeovil rider has now taken three second places (2011, 2012 and 2015) and third in 2014 and 2016.
The rest of the top ten is filled out by riders who have taken four rostrums – Ian Hutchinson, Steve Hislop, David Jefferies and Akira Terui.
Hislop took third in 1989 before claiming a hat-trick of wins in 1990, 1993 and 1994, the final two on 500cc ROC and Harris Yamaha’s. Hutchinson and Jefferies have a win apiece to their name with Jessopp the only rider in the top ten not have stood on the top step, the Yeovil rider now having taken three second places (2011, 2012 and 2015) and a third (2014). Japanese rider Akira Terui also took four podiums, but no win, between 1972 and 1977 just before the European riders started to dominate.
Meanwhile, despite only having two podiums, Peter Hickman became only the ninth rider to have won the race on two occasions or more in 2016 when he won the race for the second successive year.
|1.||Michael Rutter||8 (1998 – 2012)|
|2.||Ron Haslam||6 (1981 – 1987)|
|3.||Stuart Easton||4 (2008 – 2014)|
|4.||Sadao Asami||3 (1978 – 1980)|
|=||Steve Hislop||3 (1990 – 1994)|
|6.||Hiroshi Hasegawa||2 (1967 – 1968)|
|=||Mick Grant||2 (1977 – 1984)|
|=||Steve Plater||2 (2006 – 2007)|
|=||Peter Hickman||2 (2015 – 2016)|
|1.||Michael Rutter||17 (1996 – 2016)|
|2.||John McGuinness||8 (1998 – 2008)|
|3.||Sadao Asami||6 (1975 – 1981)|
|=||Ron Haslam||6 (1981 – 1987)|
|=||Phillip McCallen||6 (1989 – 1997)|
|6.||Stuart Easton||5 (2004 – 2014)|
|=||Martin Jessopp||5 (2011 – 2016)|
|8.||Akira Terui||4 (1972 – 1977)|
|=||Steve Hislop||4 (1989 – 1994)|
|=||David Jefferies||4 (1999 – 2002)|
|=||Ian Hutchinson||4 (2006 – 2015)|
Some impressive stats from the Macau GP over the years, now find out more about the riders in our Hall of Fame.
Take our short quiz and see how much you remember about the Macau GP!
Statistical information provided by Phil Wain.