News 22 Nov 2009

RR: Hydrex IGT Honda's Easton wins second consecutive Macau

Stuart Easton has won the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix for the second consecutive year riding the Hydrex IGT Honda Fireblade 1000cc Superbike.

Starting in pole position he lead the field into the first corner and by the end of the first lap had a lead of 1.516s over Connor Cummins on the PBM Kawasaki WSBK. By the end of lap 6 the young Scot had increased his lead to 6.172s and Stuart and Cummins had pulled away from the following pack.

However, by lap 10 Cummins had began to fight back and had reduced Stuart’s lead to 3.078s.

Cummins was now on a charge and the final five laps produced some dramatic racing. At the start of lap 14, the penultimate lap, Cummins was just 0.421s behind Stuart and during the lap passed Stuart at Fisherman’s Bend.

On the last lap Stuart dug deep and out braked Cummins on the approach to Lisboa, held his line and retook the lead. Pushing hard he kept Cummins at bay to cross the finish line just 0.381s ahead.

“The first half of the race went really well but as the laps past I realised I had been working my tyres really hard and I started to really feel the grip going off. Connor was pushing hard and with two laps to go I really felt I was in trouble,” said Easton. “Connor passed me on the penultimate lap but I was absolutely determined to win again so on the last lap I pushed really hard and with what grip I had left I was able to out brake Connor into Lisboa. To win again and to set a new lap record has made this the perfect weekend. I must say a big thank you to Shaun Muir who gave me the opportunity to have my best season ever, all the team who have been fantastic and, of course, our sponsors ”

It was not such a good race for Hydrex IGT Honda’s other rider, John McGuinness, who had to retire on lap 7.

“It was a disappointing race for me. I never found my confidence on the bike and I was moving back through the field. The crew had done a great job and the bike was performing well. However, I simply couldn’t find any rhythm or pace and by the time I reached lap 7 I took the decision to retire,” McGuinness explained.

“This is a fantastic result and I’m delighted for Stuart and the team. He has performed well all year and I have seen a real determination in him since he first rode for SMR at last year’s Macau GP,” team owner Shaun Muir said. “This is the perfect ending to a great season for Stuart and I’m delighted to have signed him for the 2010 BSB season. A big thank you, of course, to all the team who have work so hard and all our sponsors for their enduring support.“

The Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team recorded a superb double podium when Conor Cummins and Ian Hutchinson finished second and third respectively in Macau.

Aboard the, Vent-Axia, Henleys and Kick Energy-backed Ninja ZX-10R which Broc Parkes raced in this year’s World Superbike Championship, 23-year-old Manxman Cummins, on only his third visit, chased down a six second deficit behind leader Stuart Easton and going into the penultimate lap, Cummins hit the front but despite a frenetic last lap battle, it was Easton who held on for victory by a third of a second after fifteen laps of the 6.12km Circuito Da Guia.

“There was some confusion at the start of the race and by the time I got going, I’d been held up which had allowed Stuart to build a big lead but little by little, I reeled him in and took the lead going into Fishermans on the last lap but one,” Cummins said. “I thought I could hold him off but Stuart has a lot of experience around here and I got a bad run through the backmarkers so he got by me again but I’m happy enough with second place. The bike has been great and the team is fantastic and I’m delighted with the result.”

Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson brought the second of the works PBM Kawasakis home in third place after seeing off a challenge from Gary Johnson to give the PBM team cause for further celebration.

“I got held up early on and by then, both Stuart and Conor had gone but after a bit of a battle with Gary Johnson, I ended up having a lonely race,” said Hutchinson. “I had to get used to the Pirelli tyres as their characteristics are different to the Dunlops I’ve been using and also I had to learn the Kawasaki so to finish on the podium is fantastic. We’re off out for a few beers tonight and to spend the podium bonus Birdy has promised me…!”

Paul Bird was thrilled with the result, although a victory would have been the preferred result.

“My lads rode fantastic but you’ve got to hand it to Stuart again. Conor rode well for a big lad with not much experience round here and I thought he could do it but the backmarkers cost him dearly,” said Bird. “Hutchy did a great job and dug deep to get us third place so I’m pleased for all of them. It’s one of Kawasaki’s best results of the season and fully vindicates us bringing the team here.”