Ivan Lintin and the Devitt RC Express Racing team were out of luck in Saturday’s 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix with the Lincolnshire rider cruelly forced to retire with just two laps to go whilst running in a strong 13th place.
The Bardney-based rider was making just his second appearance at the Far East venue but was getting more and more to grips with the 3.8-mile Guia circuit with his lap times considerably quicker than 2015 and improving throughout practice and qualifying.
Thursday saw the 32-year old slot into 16th place during the morning’s free practice session but he improved his lap time by two and a half seconds in the first qualifying session later in the afternoon. He went quicker again during Friday’s second and final qualifying session and a time of 2m31.033s was a personal best and it placed him 19th on the grid for Saturday’s 12-lap race.
Rain in the morning meant that the warm-up session was held in slightly damp conditions but by the time the riders came to the line just before 4pm in the afternoon, conditions were good all around the course and a superb start saw Ivan and the Kawasaki ZX-10R leap up the order to 13th by the completion of the first lap.
It turned out to be a rather uneventful race for Ivan as he maintained station in 13th throughout not quite close enough to the group of riders ahead of him but comfortably clear of those behind. Despite circulating on his own, his lap times were very strong and with a new personal best, 2m30.346s, coming on the sixth lap, it was clear Ivan was more than comfortable with how his race was unfolding.
However, as expected, the latter half of the race saw a number of riders start to see tyre performance drop off and Ivan was one of them so much so that he had to pull in to retire at the end of lap ten with just two laps of the race remaining. It was an unlucky end to his and the team’s year although it’s been another superb season for Ivan and the Bristol-based team.
Ivan Lintin: “Practice and qualifying went really well and I was more than happy with how the bike was performing and how I was riding. It’s only my second year at Macau and it’s not the easiest of circuits to learn but each time I went out I lowered my lap times considerably. The race was quite a lonely old affair but, with a good start, I was happy with how I was going and with the lap times I did. As the race went on though, the tyre went off and it would have been dangerous to continue so safety prevailed and I pulled in. It would have been nice to have ended the season with a solid result but we will be going home happy with the progress we’ve made.”
Ben Constable, Team Co-Owner: “Unfortunately, Ivan’s tyre went off towards the end of the race which meant he lost a lot of grip and with Macau being quite a dangerous circuit, it’s not the place for taking any unnecessary risks. Apart from that, we were really happy with how the week had gone. Ivan set his fastest ever laps in the race and was riding extremely well so we’ve had a strong event. 12th or 13th would have been a great result to end the year with but whilst it’s disappointing to retire, the team has had a mega week.”
Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix (12 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (BMW)
2 Michael Rutter (BMW)
3 Martin Jessopp (BMW)
4 Conor Cummins (Honda)
5 Horst Saiger (Kawasaki)
6 Stuart Easton (Racing BMW)
DNF Ivan Lintin (Devitt RC Express Racing Kawasaki)
Picture by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker Press International