Hydrex IGT Honda’s Stuart Easton topped Thursday’s Macau Grand Prix timesheet in fine fashion, the British rider setting a new qualifying lap record. The reigning Macau winner, Easton’s 2:25.476 lap bettered Kawasaki pilot Michael Rutter in second and fellow ZX-10R rider Ian Hutchinson.
Hydrex Honda rider Stuart Easton broke the qualifying record at the Macau Grand Prix during Thursday's afternoon session.
The remainder of the top 10 includes familiar Isle of Man competitors like Conor Cummins (fourth) and the King of the Mountain himself, John McGuinness (eighth). McGuinness lapped nearly four seconds behind his Hydrex teammate, Easton.
Fifth-fastest was Rico Penzkofer, who has raced the BMW HP2 in world endurance races, but competes at Macau for the first time aboard a factory prepped BMW S1000RR. Following Penzkofer is Mike Barnes, the longtime AMA roadracer contesting Macau for the Paul Bird Motorsports team.
Barnes is the fastest of four Americans riding Macau, with Jeremy Toye 10th-fastest on Thursday, followed by Mark Miller in 11th. The final Yankee, Scott Jensen, was 22nd a full 11 seconds off the leader’s pace.
Holding the provisional pole, Easton will attempt to secure the position in Friday morning’s hour-long qualifying session. Saturday’s 15-lap race will be held in the afternoon.
2009 Macau Grand Prix Thursday Qualifying:
1. Stuart Easton (GBR) Hydrex IGT Honda
2. Michael Rutter (GBR) Team of Paris - AXA Racing +1.636
3. Ian Hutchison (GBR) PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team +2.098
4. Conor Cummins (IOM) PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team +2.269
5. Rico Penzkofer (GER) BMW Macau Racing Team +3.221
6. Mike Barnes (USA) PBM Kawasaki WSBK Team +3.479
7. Stephen Thompson (GBR) Robinson Concrete Honda +3.796
8. John McGuinness (GBR) Hydrex IGT Honda +3.981
9. Gary Johnson (GBR) A.I.M. Racing +4.302
10. Jeremy Toye (USA) Lee's Cycles Racing +4.598
11. Mark Miller (USA) Celtic Racing +4.761
22. Scott Jensen (USA) Moto Garage Racing +11.606