Isle of Man TT racer Dan Kneen is targeting a top six finish at next year’s Macau Grand Prix after securing ninth in only his second visit this weekend.
Riding the Marks Bloom Racing Suzuki, Kneen put in a strong run during Sunday’s delayed race around the demanding 3.8-mile Guia circuit.
The Manx racer was consistently in the top 15 during practice and qualifying and was rewarded with a fine top 10 result, only beaten across the line by seasoned Macau GP competitors.
A year on from his 2011 Macau debut, Kneen’s week started steadily with 15th in free practice as he re-familiarised himself with the Armco-lined circuit. He soon quickened his pace and by the time qualifying had concluded, he had shaved 5 seconds off his lap times to qualify ninth.
A good start to Saturday’s 15-lap race saw Kneen immediately move up to eighth, but the race was less than a lap old when rain began to fall and the race was halted.
The gird reformed 24 hours later for a 10 lap contest and another solid start saw Kneen consolidate his ninth place. It proved a fairly uneventful race for the 25-year-old, as he circulated a couple of seconds behind Jimmy Storrar, but comfortably clear of 10th-placed James Hillier.
“I’ve really enjoyed my return to Macau and having arrived nice and early, I was able to relax and ease my way into the meeting. I just went out in practice and qualifying to get used to the circuit once more and build myself up so I was more than pleased with ninth on the grid.”
“The lap times were good and I was running a good pace and ahead of quite a few riders with a lot more experience than me whilst the ones ahead were all top runners!”
“I got a good start when the race got underway on Saturday and was up to eighth when the red flag came out due to the rain so had to do it all over again on Sunday.”
“It was a similar story on Sunday and I just had a nice, steady race keeping it all nice and smooth.” “There were some top lads in front of me and they were just that bit quicker than me, utilising their experience, but I’m sure with a bit more work to the bike and another year under my belt, the top six will be within reach in 2013.”