Nicknamed “Turbo Rabbit,” Glenn Irwin was a relatively unknown until his Macau debut last year, when he fought for a spot on the Macau Grand Prix podium after clocking third quickest in the qualifying session.
The rider – who hails from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland – stunned competitors and audience members alike when he took his Ducati to seventh place in the first qualifying session. He performed even better in the next session to secure a front-row start in his first appearance at the Guia Circuit, right behind eight-time Macau winner Michael Rutter.
Irwin had a solid first season in the British Superbike Championship (BSB), securing his podium debut at the Thruxton race, and another one in the deciding race at Brands Hatch.
To learn more about Irwin’s experience and unexpected performance at last year’s Macau race, as well as what we can expect from him this time, the Times spoke to him ahead of the Macau Grand Prix.
Macau Daily Times (MDT) – How did you feel about being so close to a podium finish in your debut year in Macau?
Glenn Irwin (GI) – It was so weird. Usually in that situation, it would be very disappointing, but with it being such a dangerous race (due to the electrical failure of his motorcycle) it was also a relief I was coming home safe.
MDT – After that first experience, what are your thoughts about the racetrack and race atmosphere?
GI –The racetrack is very, very fun; very unique. The atmosphere is also really good, and the fans are cool and make a lot of noise from the grandstand!
MDT – You are returning this year with added experience. What are you aiming for?
GI – It’s hard to predict until we get some practice, but I feel like I can win the race.
MDT – How do you perceive the competition this year? Will Peter Hickman (Hicky) be the man to beat once more?
GI – For sure, Hicky has the target on his back. He has been the main man for the last two seasons now. [Michael] Rutter will [also] be there as he is riding as good as ever and [Martin] Jessop is still chasing the first win. It won’t be easy, that’s for sure.
MDT – What is the most challenging factor of the Macau race?
GI – For me, it’s definitely the heat and humidity. I can say that my favorite place is the hotel because of the air-conditioning [laughs].