Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix

It’s a hat trick as Peter Hickman wins his third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. The British Superbikes and road racing star led an all-British podium finishing ahead of team-mate Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp. The 2018 event was the 52nd time the event has been held, and followed wins for Hickman in 2015 and 2016.

Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix
Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, ahead of Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp

The race on the 6.120 street circuit finished on lap nine of 12 after the race was red-flagged due to a crash involving Phil Crowe and Ben Whylie. The early leader had been Honda-mounted Michael Rutter, before Hickman was able to move past on the Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing BMW S 1000 RR.

2018 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix
The 2018 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix gets started

Hickman was the pre-race favourite after claiming his first Macau pole start. And the Louth-based rider moved into the lead on lap 3. He began to pull away from Rutter and the chasing riders including Jessopp, Danny Webb and Gary Johnson until the race was brought to a premature end.

Michael Rutter Leads The 2018 Macau GP From Eventual Winner Peter Hickman
Michael Rutter Leads The 2018 Macau GP From Eventual Winner Peter Hickman

A delighted Peter Hickman said: “Michael got a much better start than me which is usual as he is always good off the line. I was quite happy to just sit there and follow him to watch where he was strong and where he wasn’t. I could hear the Ducati behind me so realised Martin was fairly close so after the third lap I decided it was time to go and got my head down, passed Michael and began to pull a bit of a gap.

After half distance he began to gain ground on me and was only 0.7s behind so thought I had better get my head down again and pull the gap back out again. I looked at the TV screen at Lisboa and saw that I had pulled away again but unfortunately the red flag came out. I really hope the boys involved are ok, which is the main thing to be honest. It is fantastic for myself, the Smiths Racing crew, (I had my usual team around me) and Aspire-Ho Bathams who are the sponsors for the team, to give them a win here is absolutely brilliant.”

Peter Hickman on the Bathams BMW at the 2018 Macau GP
Peter Hickman on the Bathams BMW at the 2018 Macau GP

Hickman has achieved wins in every international race in 2018, along with qualifying for the British Superbike Showdown. That includes victory in the Superstock and Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT, along with the fastest lap record of 135.452mph. Plus victories at the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.

Behind the podium finishers of Hickman, Rutter and Jessopp were Danny Webb (BMW) and Gary Johnson (Kawasaki). Horst Saiger took sixth ahead of Davo Johnson, Derek Sheils and Davey Todd. Completing the top ten was the returning John McGuinness.

Davey Todd, Didier Grams and Michael Sweeney - 2018 Macau GP
Davey Todd, Didier Grams and Michael Sweeney – 2018 Macau GP

In total, 24 riders completed the race, with Craig Neve the final classified finisher. Only Davy Morgan and Didier Grams failed to finish, as the red flag meant Wylie and Crowe were included in the provisional results in 15th and 16th place. Fortunately the reports are that Wylie was taken to hospital with injuries understood to not be serious, and Crowe was pretty much unscathed. The crash occurred at Fisherman’s Bend as Wylie struck the barrier on his Bimota before Crowe collided with the fallen motorcycle.

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Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

The British Superbike grid is being confirmed for next year, as Bradley Ray stays with Buildbase Suzuki for the 2019 BSB series. The 21-year-old rider from Kent has taken two race wins to secure a place in the end-of-season Showdown in 2018. And it means he will stay with the team, and the Suzuki GSX-R1000, for a third year in a row.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

It’s been a mixed season for the Lydd-based rider with two wins at the opening British Superbike round at Donington. He’s racked up three more podiums, but suffered some non-finishes in the middle of the season. Currently sixth in the standings going into the triple-race final weekend at Brands Hatch, Ray can at least focus on the track action knowing his place is secure for 2019.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

Ray made his debut in the British Superbike class with Buildbase Suzuki, taking a podium in his first year. It followed several seasons in the MotoGP Rookies Cup, British MotoStar championship, and in the CEV Moto3 series. In 2016 he took third in the British Supersport championship before moving to the top national class.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

2018 saw Ray take part in the Suzuka 8-Hour race with Yoshimura Suzuki. And the team were able to recover to 10th overall, after dropping to 48th due to a crash. He also appeared as a wildcard for his first outing in World Superbikes at Donington Park, taking 14th and 15 place finishes.

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

Bradley Ray said, “I’m really happy to be staying with the team and with Suzuki for another year. I’ve got a great relationship with everyone and we enjoy working together, and that should only give us a head-start next season. This year was only my second year on a superbike and the second year of development for the new GSX-R, and we’ve won races, been on the podium, and made it into the Showdown, so we can only be happy with that, and I’m confident that will continue next season. It was good to have everything signed and agreed nice and early. We’ve now got one round to go and I can focus on my riding and to try to finish the season strongly at Brands.”

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

Buildbase Suzuki team manager, Steve Hicken, added, “Continuing our association with Bradley next season is really important for us. Like many, we recognised his talent early on, and when he was in the supersport class two years ago we wanted to get him onto a superbike as soon as possible. He’s one of the most natural young talents in the country, so of course we’re really excited to be able to announce that he’ll again be on a Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000R for a third season in 2019. While we’ve got one round to go and are aiming to finish the season strongly, having everything signed and confirmed means we’ll be going into the winter with a clear focus on building for a title assault next year.”

Bradley Ray Stays With Buildbase Suzuki For The 2019 BSB Series

The full line-up for Buildbase Suzuki in 2019 hasn’t been confirmed yet. Current team-mate Richard Cooper is making his debut at the Sunflower Trophy at Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland this year for the team. The races traditionally end the Irish season, and occur on the weekend following the end of the British Superbike season.

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