PETER Hickman powered to his third Suncity Macau Grand Prix victory, completing his hat-trick of wins and denying Rutter a historic ninth.
The Team Aspire Ho by Bathams BMW rider led a majority of the laps after his team-mate had grabbed the early lead, but action was brought to a halt with three laps remaining after a number of bikes hit the deck.
Spots of rain hit the Guia Circuit just as riders lined up on the grid, but when the lights went out, Rutter shot from the middle of the front row straight to the front as Hickman and Gary Johnson slotted into second and third.
While Rutter and Hickman slowly began creeping away at the sharp end, Penz13 man Danny Webb slipped ahead of Johnson to take over third, while Jessopp began taking a look at him from fifth.
And although Webb looked to be bridging the gap to Hickman, the 2015 and 2016 winner pounced on Rutter on lap three and immediately put the hammer down.
Within two laps of taking the lead, Hickman stretched a 0.884s lead as Rutter struggled to hang on, but the battle raged for the final podium spot behind the eight-time Macau king.
On lap five, Jessopp got past Johnson and went straight after Webb for third, levering the former grand prix star aside before beginning to go after Rutter, who was nearly five seconds ahead.
Back in the fight for first, however, the Bathams man had chopped nearly two tenths out of Hickman’s lead and with four to go, he had his deficit down to less than eight tenths of a second.
But the very next lap, action was brought to a halt with at least two bikes on the tarmac, the Bimota of Ben Wylie and the HandTrans BMW of Phil Crowe. Crowe later revealed he was okay after getting caught up in another rider’s crash.
With the stoppage, Hickman bagged his third Macau GP victory while Rutter and Jessopp completed the podium.
*Image: Sports Bureau of Macao