Derek Sheils will make his Macau Grand Prix debut in November on John Burrows’ Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki.
The Dublin rider, who has been in terrific form this season, joins Ulsterman Glenn Irwin (PBM Be Wiser Ducati) as circuit rookies at the 50th running of the legendary event in the Far East, where British Superbike star Peter Hickman will return to defend the title he won in sensational style last year.
Hickman clinched the spoils at only his second attempt in 2015 as he reeled in fellow Briton Martin Jessopp on the Briggs Equipment BMW to scale the top step at the Guia street circuit.
Record eight-time winner Michael Rutter and four-time victor Stuart Easton join forces on BMW machinery for the Bathams/SMT Racing team.
Northern Ireland’s Mar-Train Racing team is represented by Manx rider Dan Kneen on the Yamaha R1, who has enjoyed a strong second half of the year after injury ruled him out of the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Yorkshire’s Ian Hutchinson is on a high after a dominant four-timer at the Ulster Grand Prix, where he established a new outright lap record in excess of 134mph. The Tyco BMW rider won at Macau for the first time in 2013 and Hutchy is another who sits prominently on the shortlist of potential winners.
Macau regular John McGuinness returns with the Honda Racing team and the Morecambe man narrowly missed out on a rostrum finish last year behind Rutter after a late charge saw him secure a solid fourth place. McGuinness is joined on the CBR1000RR Fireblade machines by Manx rider Conor Cummins.
Runner-up Jessopp must have felt he was on course for his maiden Macau GP success last year only to be caught and passed by Hickman and the Yeovil rider, who has now finished in second place three times, will be eager to go one step further on the Riders Motorcycles BMW.
A quality field also includes Gary Johnson on the Penz13.com BMW, who partners newcomer Danny Webb, while Ivan Lintin is entered on the RC Express Kawasaki.
Davy Morgan from Saintfield plus Skerries rider Michael Sweeney, Brian McCormack and Steve Heneghan will also be in action.
Dan Hegarty – winner of the Isle of Man Privateers Championship this year – will race a Kawasaki.
This year is the Golden Jubilee of the Macau GP, which will be held over 12 laps on November 19.