Martin Jessopp will start the 2018 Macau Grand Prix from the front-row after putting in a late charge to qualify third for the famous street circuit event.
Jessopp was making his debut on the factory-supported and Metzeler-shod Be Wiser TAK CHUN Racing by PBM Ducati Panigale – the same bike that took Glenn Irwin to victory last year.
The 32-year-old was delighted with the result given that he had never ridden the Ducati around the circuit before. He said:
“I’m really happy to be on the front row to be honest as it’s the first time on the Ducati and with the PBM team round here. After six years of riding the same bike previously, it’s been a big, big steep and fast learning curve but it’s only qualifying and there are a heap of lads very close to us. We still have work to do so we are going to try a few things in the warm up and we’ll hopefully be all set for the race.”
Jessopp will line-up on the front-row alongside Peter Hickman (pole) and Michael Rutter (second).
On the other side of the PBM garage, John McGuinness returned to the 3.8-mile Guia street circuit for the first time in two years following injury and gradually improved his times to end up in eighth overall.
Reflecting on the qualifying session, McGuinness said:
“That’s second qualifying done and I’m happy enough with my grid position for the race. I was a little bit rusty and nervous and rightly so after not being on a proper Superbike for a couple of years. Everything came back to me and it started flowing and I got into a bit of a rhythm towards the end and went a bit faster.
“I’m looking forward to the race, I’m just going to go out and enjoy myself and if I do that, we can hopefully bring it home safely and get a decent result for the team.”
The 12-lap Macau GP race is scheduled to start at 15.40 local time on Saturday (07.40 GMT).