With the rider market moving and changing at a moment’s notice, Tarran Mackenzie is hoping he can call WorldSBK ‘home’ in the future
With five rounds completed in the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Donington Park proved to be an important round in the title battle. However, it was also an important round in terms of showcasing potential, as wildcard Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) demonstrated. The British rider, who made his WorldSBK debut at long last, enjoyed a successful weekend and showed plenty of promise, as he bids to put himself in the window for a World Championship ride in 2023.
Race 1 was a solid showing from Mackenzie, as the 26-year-old, as he finished in the points with 14th place, after a very promising showing saw him qualify on the fifth row in 13th. Going into Sunday, the Tissot Superpole Race ended in disaster when Mackenzie outbraked himself into Goddard’s and hit the back of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC). Mackenzie crashed out whilst Vierge kept it upright, although the rookie Spaniard lost time in the incident; for the crash, Mackenzie was given a five-place grid penalty for Race 2. Coming through from 19th place, the wildcard got into a point-scoring position to cross the line 15th, less than half a second behind 2017 WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), having been 3.3s behind the Frenchman on Lap 9.
Speaking about his first round in WorldSBK, the reigning British champion commented: “It’s been a great experience for me; a big learning curve but also an enjoyable one. I made a good step in Superpole and in the first race, it was the first long run I’d done as we were trying to figure out the electronics with the team. We got through it OK, but I was a little bit disappointed with the Superpole Race but overall, it was a good weekend.”
Mackenzie then spoke about the incident with Vierge on Sunday morning and how much it cost him: “I’m really sorry to Xavi and I apologised to him and his team; I was gutted and it’s never nice to clip someone. I felt really strong in that race, but I was just struggling to pass him as his bike is quite fast. The pace was good, and I enjoyed it, but the crash had a knock-on effect for Race 2 and getting the penalty pushed us back two more rows, which was frustrating. I got stuck behind some slower riders and lost touch with the group in front. I had better pace and I was closer to the leader, so overall I can’t complain but I am disappointed with my mistake this morning. Still, overall, a good weekend.”
Finally, Mackenzie spoke about the possibility of a full-time move to WorldSBK: “I was meant to test earlier in the year and do Assen and then come here with a better understanding of the electronics, likewise for the team. I got thrown in at the deep end here, but we really enjoyed it and I really like this paddock. It’s nice and relaxed and everyone made us feel very welcome. Hopefully, one day, we’ll be in the paddock full-time. We’ve had one discussion, but I think it’s too early as a lot of riders haven’t signed for next year yet. The first experience here was enjoyable and hopefully, one day I can be here and be racing in this paddock every weekend.”
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