Peter Hickman hopes number one plate can boost his chances of second straight Macau motorcycle crown
The defending champion from Great Britain is replacing his traditional number 60 for the top number
Peter Hickman came, saw, and conquered the Macau Motorcycling Grand Prix last year in a ride made all the more remarkable given it was pretty much the British rider’s first real crack at the event.
The previous year – on his first journey to Macau – Hickman had one practice ride and duly wiped himself and what was proving a troublesome bike out on a corner. That was the weekend done.
Last year he got a late call-up, arrived on the Wednesday night and was out practising with the sleep still in his eyes the next day. But the jet-lag had no effect as Hickman quickly made himself accustomed to the Guia Circuit.
By the end of action on the Saturday, Hickman had blown a stellar field away to win his first Macau title, leaving Martin Jessop and Michael Rutter trailing in behind.
Now, the 29-year-old returns from what he described as a “huge” year – and the number on the front of his bike suggests he just might be the one they all have to chase again this weekend, in the 50th edition of the race.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Hickman said. “Last year was a really strong year for me, and this will be the first time I’ll be racing a bike with the number one on it – which is mega.
“I’ve won races in the past obviously but I’ve never run the number one plate. It’s something different for me and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had the offer before but always stuck with my favourite number 60 but this time when they offered I thought ‘It’s the Macau Grand Prix – why not?’”
Hickman wrote his name in the history of the prestigious Macau event in winning the 49th edition by becoming the first rider to win on a BMW. The effect, he said, was immediate.
“There’s not many around who haven’t heard about the Macau Grand Prix or haven’t watched it,” said Hickman. “Lots of people know about it and understand how hard it is to win.”
He will this year race in the big one come Saturday alongside eight-time winner Michael Rutter and four-time winner Stuart Easton on the Bathams/SMT Racing BMW.
“There’s a lot of experience around here – well, they’ve a lot more than I have – so that puts us in a very strong position,” he said.