Peter Hickman times it just right to take Guia honours in Macau Motorcycle GP
English rider sneaks up on pole-sitter Jessoppto earn surprise victory at Macau Grand Prix
The frantic pace of motorcycling doesn't usually call for patience, but Peter Hickman proved it's a virtue anytime and anywhere, as he raced away with yesterday's Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Pole-sitter Martin Jessopp had screamed away from the start on his Riders Motorcycles BMW and had clocked an impressive 2.5-second lead over his rivals after only one lap across the 6.2km Guia circuit.
But Hickman was content to bide his time on his Briggs Equipment BMW after moving into second place on lap one, catching eight-time champion Michael Rutter unawares with a sneaky move near the Lisboa.
For the next eight laps Hickman reeled in the leader and he made his move in an instant once he noticed that Jessopp was starting to lose control.
Over the last three laps, Hickman extended his lead to six seconds and treated the crowd to some impressive theatrics as his crossed the line for his first victory here at just the second time of asking.
"It feels absolutely fantastic," said the 28-year-old English rider after drying his hair from the celebratory champagne.
"I've not been doing the road racing scene for very long, but my British Superbike championships have been pretty strong. It's fantastic to be able to transfer between the two.
"We all knew from the qualifying and practices that Martin [Jessopp] was really strong, and the pace that he had compared to everyone else seemed too much, to be quite honest.
"Martin put in such a fast [first] lap. I thought, I just need to be clean, don't make any mistakes and just be as fast as I can. As soon as I had a chance, I was close enough at Lisboa and I passed him straight away. Fortunately, the plan worked."
Disappointment for Jessopp, especially given that start he had.
"I had a sneaky look and saw Peter was there," said Jessopp, 30. "He was getting closer and closer and did an awesome job.
"I've never led a race like this for so long and there's a lot of pressure when you have to do your own thing. It didn't quite work but I'll move on."
There was, meanwhile, more proof on show as to just why Rutter is such a legend in these parts
The 43-year-old had dropped back as far as fifth in the middle stages of the 12-lap event.
He said earlier that time was no longer on his side but showed once again there's plenty of life in the old dog yet as he saved his best (and fastest) lap for last on the way to third place.
It was Rutter's first time on a BMW and the Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Motorsport by MGM China team would no doubt be happy to have him back anytime.
"A big yellow light came on during lap one to tell me I had no traction and it took me a few laps to get used to it," he said. "Those two had just cleared off, so … I just put my head down."