Hickman and Rutter showing all of their experience in bid for more Macau success
Peter Hickman started this morning's Macau Grand Prix from pole position on his MGM by Bathams BMW although it was a close run thing as his team-mate Michael Rutter - on the MGM by Bathams Honda RC213V - was just 0.282 seconds behind after the second qualifying session.
Hickman, who won an incredible seven races from seven starts during Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week, had led Rutter by 1.7secs at the end of qualifying one, but did not improve his time in the second session, while Rutter on his 13th and final lap shaved seven tenths off his Thursday time to reduce Hickman's advantage.
The pair were the only riders inside the 2m 25sec bracket for the 3.825mile circuit with Hickman chasing win number four and Rutter looking to extend his record winning total, which currently sits on eight victories.
David Johnson, riding the PBM Ducati V4 Panigale, lined up third on the grid with his team-mate John McGuinness in fourth, a quarter of a second behind the Australian.
Having missed last year's event Lee Johnston was fifth with Austrian Horst Saiger completing the top six.
Davey Todd and Derek Sheils slipped down the order starting from 12th and 13th on the grid for this morning's 12-lap race.
The first shots have been fired with the opening winter test for World Superbikes having taken place at Aragon in Spain.
Five-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea opted out of the second day of the two-day test due to the changeable weather conditions.
The Ulsterman had set his best time on day one, a 1m 50.416sec lap.
"We have been unfortunate with the weather and the only track time we could use was in the afternoons," the 32-year-old said.
"Even in the windy and cold conditions we were able to be fast and we have a consistent understanding of some new components in our test plan.
"We now head to Jerez for a further two-day test on 28th/29th November hoping for better weather and another opportunity to evaluate some ideas to improve our ZX-10RR," he added.
British Superbike champion Scott Redding - on his debut for the factory Ducati team - was fastest after the two days recording a 1m 49.929sec lap as he got to grips with the complexities of the factory machine.
In his final Grand Prix before retiring, three-time MotoGP World champion Jorge Lorenzo ended day one in 16th position, a second off the fastest time of Fabio Quartararo.