This year the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and in its opening practice session, the entire field was separated by less than 15 seconds, showing just how intense the battle for the Golden Jubilee honours will be, as the field of some best two-wheel road racers take on the most unforgiving street circuit in the world.
After the session, Closer caught up with André Pires, the only Portuguese Motorcycle rider competin in Macau GP this year, as well as Ricardo Alcantara, his technical support.
Macau CLOSER: This is not your first time to compete in Macau. Compared with your visits, how do you feel this year here?
André Pires: First of all, I’m having fun, enjoying it quite a lot. Things are running very well so far, everybody is going very fast. I’m using a brand new motorcycle this year, and I wish I could have practiced more on it before I came. But my team is improving it, hopefully tomorrow at the second qualifying session things are going to run well.
The second qualifying is going to be tomorrow (Friday) at 7:30am, and the race is going be on Saturday. We hope that the weather continues to be like this. The forecast says it is going to rain, but not absolutely for sure.
What makes Macau GP different from other races you compete in?
I have been competing in Portugal’s National Championship, and the circuit races there are short. But the road race circuit here in Macau is very tricky. There are not as many risks as this one, when you’re running in short circuit. It’s a big challenge for sure.
Are you feeling any pressure? Do you have any expectations for the race result?
I’m trying to do my best for sure. In regards to the target, I’m trying to get myself into the Top 15. And I’ll keep on working, and I hope that I can come back again next year. This year in Portugal I did practices on TT Isle of Man as well, so I’m trying to improve more on this one.
Are you over the jetlag already? How do you maintain your physical condition here in Macau?
AP: I’m still suffering a bit of Jetlag but I’m already getting used to it. I’ve got support from a local gymnastic for my physical training, and also from a local Portuguese restaurant. They’ve been very supporting, and I appreciate that a lot. Macau is quite a good place, and I’m enjoying being here.