Michael Rutter has the hots right from the start in Macau (Photo: email@example.com)
So far so good - the rain gods delayed the wet weather till after this morning's first practice for the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. Prospects for this afternoon and tomorrow are not too bright but many fingers are crossed.
Meanwhile it was certainly back to business for Michael Rutter who put in a series of hot laps on his Ducati with a best of 2 minutes 27.618 seconds - more than 1 second quicker than second placed American Jeremy Toye on the IGT Kawasaki.
Of course Michael is hoping that his lean streak (at least for him) of no wins at Macau since 2005 will be over this year so that he can break away from his tie with Ron Haslam and claim the record for number of Macau wins. Certainly Macau, Rutter and Ducati are a combination that seems to gel so perhaps this is the year that the seventh win will happen.
Ian Hutchinson returns to racing after his terrible crash with his Swan Yamaha fitted with a special rear brake linkage that allows him to use his right foot for double actions - both gears and brake ! Ian told me after practice today today that he was feeling really comfortable on the bike despite still having limited movement in his left leg mainly due to remaining ligament damage. He certainly must have been comfortable as Ian set the third fastest lap and was showing a lot of determination out on the Guia circuit.
Northern Ireland's Dunlop Brothers had their first laps of Macau this morning and were riding sensibly with Michael taking fifteenth place. William did have a skirt with the barrier at Fisherman's Bend that caused himto stop but he is OK although he has learnt the Macau lesson !
Major story at the moment is the weather with very heavy showers making the track dangerous. Even the four wheelers are slipping all over the place with the Formula 3 PRactice being stopped twice for recovery of bits and pieces ! The forecasters are saying that the showers will continue all day so the chance of qualifying for the bikes this afternoon is not looking too good as bikes do not circulate in Macau if it's wet !
Well strike a light it's Ian Hutchinson - spot the linkage taking his rear brake to the right side (Photo: firstname.lastname@example.org)