John McGuinness’s hopes of taking a podium finish at the 53rd Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix were dashed on Saturday when the Morecambe ace was forced to retire on the warm up lap after the Tak Chun Group by PBM Ducati developed a technical issue.
Competing at the event for the 20th time, McGuinness was back with Paul Bird’s Ducati team for the second successive year, this time riding the Ducati Panigale V4R.
Despite never having sat on the bike prior to the event, the ‘Morecambe Missile’ set the fourth quickest time in Thursday’s free practice session and later took almost three seconds off his time during the opening qualifying session with a lap of 2m27.186s placing him third fastest and on the provisional front row.
McGuinness shaved a further three quarters of a second off his lap time in the second qualifying session to move on to a new best lap of 2m26.352s
However, his race was over before it began and the race itself was less than four laps old when a crash brought out the first red flag.
The race was re-started over the shorter distance of eight laps but a multiple pile-up involving six riders brought out the second red flag. There was no time to run the race for a third time, giving Michael Rutter his ninth win ahead of Peter Hickman.