Gary Johnson shone on his return to road racing action following his crash in the Superstock race at the Isle of Man TT in June, with the Quattro Plant Honda rider involved in the battle for the rostrum places before settling for fourth.
Gary started on row three in 7th place after some issues during qualifying and settled down in 6th place during the opening laps with British Superbike rider Stuart Easton leading the way.
With Easton easing away at the front by a three-and-a-half seconds by lap four, the battle was on for second between Johnston and Rutter, with the Macau specialist eventually getting his nose in front of the 25-year-old.
Johnston, though, wasn't to be deterred and Rutter was unable to break away in second place as the pair continued to lap Macau in unison, although Gary Johnson was now on the move in fourth place as he went head to head with Jessopp as Saiger dropped to sixth.
At the half-way point of the twelve-lap race Easton now held a commanding lead of 11.592s over Rutter and Johnston, with English star Johnson visibly reducing the deficit in fourth place as he battled to stay ahead of Martin Jessopp.
On the next lap, Johnson was looking threatening in fourth place as he joined the fight for second place along with Jessopp.
Sensing his podium chances were under threat, Irishman Johnston took the bull by the horns with an excellent move on the brakes on Rutter into Melco hairpin to move back into second place.
Jessopp then moved into fourth behind Rutter, but the Milwaukee Yamaha rider quickly hit back to retake the position at Lisboa as Johnson now found himself in fifth.
Easton now led by 17.777s with two laps remaining from Rutter, who forced his way back into the runner-up spot ahead of Johnston, now demoted to fourth on lap 10 after also losing a place to Jessopp.
Quattro Plant Honda's Gary Johnson then gained a place at the hairpin as Johnston was now pushed back to fifth, where he would remain until the end of the race as the 25-year-old drastically dropped off the pace with apparent tyre problems.
Jessopp was refusing to lie down and moved ahead of Rutter at the penultimate corner on lap 11 but the Yamaha rider used his braking prowess to respond in kind at Lisboa once again.
With Easton in total control at the front, all eyes were on the battle for second place on the last lap but Rutter put his Macau experience to good use to keep Jessopp at bay as he held on for second, with Johnson fourth on his return from injury.
Easton, though, seemed liked he had never been away as he produced an all-conquering performance on the ZX-10R to win by a huge 14 seconds from eight-time winner Michael Rutter on the Milwaukee Yamaha, who had to dig deep to hold off a strong challenge from Yeovil's Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW).
Lee Johnston crossed the line in fifth, 1.2s second down on Gary Johnson, with Austrian Horst Saiger, John McGuinness and Dan Cooper in the top eight.www.crash.net
|1||Stuart Easton||GBR||PBM Kawasaki||29:45.143|
|2||Michael Rutter||GBR||Milwaukee Yamaha||+0:14.050|
|3||Martin Jessopp||GBR||Riders Motorcycles||+0:14.505|
|4||Gary Johnson||GBR||Quattro Plant/Monex Europe Honda||+0:15.717|
|5||Lee Johnston||GBR||Pirtek Pro Bolt Honda||+0:24.163|
|6||Horst Saiger||AUS||Saiger.com Kawasaki||+0:26.330|
|7||John McGuinness||GBR||Pirtek Pro Bolt Honda||+0:30.479|
|8||Dan Cooper||GBR||DMR Racing BMW||+0:49.091|
|9||Roman Stamm||CHE||Team Bolliger Switzerland||+0:49.449|
|10||Stephen Thompson||GBR||Penz13.com BMW||+0:53.760|
|12||Mark Miller||USA||Splitlath Motorsports||+1:04.891|
|13||James McBride||GBR||JV Racing||+1:06.128|
|14||Davy Morgan||GBR||CSC Racing||+1:07.989|
|15||Allann-Jon Venter||ZAF||CF32/Maco Racing Team||+1:13.608|
|16||Steve Heneghan||IRL||Quattro Plant/Monex Europe Kawasaki||+1:47.336|
|17||Graham English||GBR||TIVA Engineering Ltd||+2:00.669|
|18||Sandor Bitter||HUN||VRS Racing||+2:03.377|
|19||Nuno Caetano||PRT||FMP Team of Portugal||+2:13.469|
|20||Dan Kruger||CAN||Penz13.com BMW||+2:17.178|
|21||Michael Sweeney||IRL||Burrows Engineering Racing||+2:22.178|