Stuart Easton produced an imperious performance to claim the fourth Macau Grand Prix victory of his career. The Hawick rider won three consecutive races here before a three-year absence but rode today as if he had never been away, winning by fourteen seconds, and was surprised by his own dominance.
“To come back after three years and win again is fantastic although I didn’t expect it to be quite so easy. I knew my wife and my little boy were watching back home so I had to do it for them. It was a case of just getting my head down and building a lead and I was comfortable putting the laps in. Thanks to the team, this is a great way to end the season on a high.”
For Easton’s rivals, the best chance of stealing a march was at the start but the Scotsman didn’t put a wheel wrong on the opening lap. His teammate and 2013 winner Ian Hutchinson saw his chances ruined immediately though after running straight on at Lisboa, falling to the back of the field.
Lee Johnston and Michael Rutter initially kept in touch with the PBM Kawasaki but by half distance, the pair were over 11 seconds adrift. Their focus was on each other with Rutter diving past the Ulsterman into Lisboa on the third lap but before long, Gary Johnson and Martin Jessopp were joining the party to create a four-way scrap for the two remaining podium spots.
Johnston’s patience ran out at Melco on lap eight, the Honda rider climbing to second, but Rutter fought straight back on the run towards Lisboa moments later, the power of his Milwaukee Yamaha pushing him back past Johnston. Worse was to come for Lee with Martin Jessopp following a superb move on Johnson with a pass on Johnston, taking him from fifth to third on lap nine.
With a lap to go, Jessopp made his bed for second place, sneaking underneath Rutter through Reservoir but the Yamaha proved superior once again on the run to Lisboa, with Rutter’s brilliance on the brakes ensuring he would secure P2 at the tight right-hander despite being forced to take the outside line.
Johnson took fourth with Johnston fading to fifth in the end. Horst Saiger finished sixth ahead of John McGuinness with Daniel Cooper, Roman Stamm and Stephen Thompson completing the top ten.