Positive start for Tarran Mackenzie.
Tarran Mackenzie and the McAMS Yamaha team showed strong progress despite being in at the deep end on the opening day of their Superbike World Championship debut at Donington Park.
Running a full WorldSBK-specification Yamaha R1, the bike was only started for the first time at 19:30 on Thursday evening with Tarran taking to the track on the machine in FP1 having never ridden it, nor any other bike with the suite of rider aids (traction control, anti-wheelie etc) available in World Superbikes.
The team’s instruction to Tarran was simple, go out and do as many laps as he could and get comfortable with the bike and that’s exactly what he did. Steadily improving throughout FP1, he ended the session with a time of 1’30.211, which placed him 17th on the timesheet but only 0.7 behind full-time Yamaha rider Garrett Gerloff.
The team made a few changes to the bike for FP2 after debriefing with Yamaha Racing engineers and Mackenzie was instantly more comfortable on the bike. Breaking into the 1’29s early in the session, he would gradually chip away at the lap time getting quicker each time he went out. He’d eventually improve his FP1 time by 1.4 seconds to end the day on a 1’28.813, closing the gap to the front to just 1.7 seconds from the 2.4 seconds it had been in the morning session.
Content with his performance on the opening day, Mackenzie and the team are positive there are further improvements to come on Saturday as they prepare for their first ever World Superbike race appearance.
COMBINED PRACTICE TIMES
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’27.016s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.551s
3. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.582s
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.668s
5. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.714s
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.719s
7. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) +1.074
8. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +1.289
9. Garett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) +1.415
10. Leon Haslam (TPR Pedercini Racing) +1.454
11. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Pucetti Racing) +1.466
12. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +1.493
13. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +1.518
14. Philip Oettl (Team GoEleven) +1.697
15. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +1.797
Pos: 15th Time: 1’28.813
“It’s been a good day, we made a good improvement from FP1 to FP2 which is all we can ask for. I had a bit of an expectation as to what the bike was going to be like and in some areas it felt like I expected but in other areas it was completely different so it was hard to get around that at first. There was a lot of learning to do with figuring out the traction control and just generally trusting the anti-wheelie and electronics as we don’t have them in BSB. I felt quite good on the bike, we had a few issues this morning so it was nice to have a clear run in FP2 and we made a good improvement, so if we can do the same in FP3 then we’ll see what Qualifying and the first race of the weekend. I’m looking forward to it and most important of all, I’m really enjoying it which is what we came here for!”
“We had literally no expectations today, we built the bike with Yamaha yesterday – a huge job which took around 14 hours, and Tarran has never ridden it before so we were in at the deep end really. We just wanted him to get as many laps as he could and learn the bike and that’s exactly what he did. I think we have to be happy with where we are at the end of the opening day all things considered, there’s definitely more to come so if we can take another step forward tomorrow and keep heading in the same direction we’ll be happy.”
Mackenzie scores points on his debut race.
Tarran Mackenzie scored his first Superbike World Championship points in his debut race in the sweltering heat at Donington Park today, taking 14th for the McAMS Yamaha team as they continue to make progress across the weekend.
There is no doubting the mammoth task at hand for the British Superbike Champions as they make their World Championship debut with a full WorldSBK-specification machine which they only finished building on Thursday evening, but Mackenzie has taken it in his stride making huge improvements every time he’s ridden the bike.
Mackenzie knocked a second off his quickest time from Friday in the final free practice session with a 1’28.615, before taking almost another second off that to set his quickest ever lap of the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit, bettering his time to 1’27.670 and earning 12th on the grid for the opening race.
The team were under no illusions that the opening 23-lap encounter would be a challenge, not only would it be their first time with a full fuel load, but it would also be the longest run so far for Mackenzie on the bike given the fact the practice sessions were sacrificed for bike familiarisation rather than race set-up.
After taking a strong start, Mackenzie held position in 12th where he’d remain for most of the race, with a steady gap to fellow Yamaha rider Andrea Locatelli ahead. As the race went on and the bike became lighter, Mackenzie encountered some issues he hadn’t had previously during the weekend leading to him losing out on a couple of places in the closing laps. He’d eventually cross the line 14th to take points in his first World Superbike race.
Now with a race worth of data under their belt, the team will work to further improve the bike overnight before the 10 lap Superpole race on Sunday morning ahead of the final race of the weekend, another 23-lapper at 14:00.
WorldSBK Donington Park Race 1 Results
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.397s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.449s
4. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +11.515s
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +12.820s
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +14.482s
7. Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha) +17.127
8. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +17.438
9. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) +24.903
10. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +28.498
11. Philip Oetll (Team Goeleven) +31.467
12. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaku Puccetti Racing) +33.514
13. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +33.647
14. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +34.870
15. Leon Haslam (TPR Pecerdini Racing) +45.205
Qualifying: 12th (1’27.670) Race: 14th
“I’m really happy. I was pleased with my start, I got knocked back a bit on the first lap but made some ground on the others. My pace at the start was high 1’28s, low 1’29s and I carried that on for quite a few laps so I was really pleased with that. As the race went on and the tyre wore, the fuel came down, I experienced some problems I’ve not experienced all weekend as we’ve not been able to do a longer run. Overall I’m happy, I was in the mix, I could run with the other guys in front and you’ve got to start somewhere haven’t you! I think it bodes well for improving tomorrow, so I can’t wait to get back out. Congratulations to Toprak and PATA Yamaha for the win!”
“That was a really great effort from Tarran. The first race was always going to be the toughest for us as we were going in pretty blind, we haven’t been able to do a long run over the weekend as we’ve focused on learning and understanding the bike. He was as high as 11th at one point, scored world championship points on debut, improved his lap time from Friday by two seconds and most importantly of all, he’s enjoying it! Tomorrow we get two more chances so we’re looking forward to having another crack. It was great to see Toprak and Yamaha on the top step!”
Mackenzie shows potential with Donington WorldSBK wildcard.
Tarran Mackenzie and the McAMS Yamaha team concluded their positive debut in the Superbike World Championship with further points and promise on Sunday at Donington Park.
Having finished 14th in his first ever World Superbike race on Saturday, Mackenzie was keen to make further progress in the Superpole Race and Race 2 on Sunday.
Unsure how the 10-lap sprint race would be, given it is effectively ten, super-fast qualifying laps, Mackenzie got stuck in from 13th on the grid. He was sat comfortably in 12th on the back of Xavi Vierge with four laps to go, but found the Honda rider tricky to pass. This led to a moment for Mackenzie into Goddard’s which saw him run into the back of his rival, unfortunately crashing out unhurt.
Despite not causing Vierge to crash, the FIM handed Mackenzie a five place grid penalty for the the second race, meaning he’d have to start 19th.
After a strong initial launch, Mackenzie lost a couple of places on the opening laps before fighting back through to 15th. Lucas Mahias was three seconds up the road, but 26-year-old Mackenzie got his head down and began to chip away. He was on the back of the Kawasaki rider by the end of the race, but wasn’t quite able to make a move stick.
Crossing the line 15th, Mackenzie brought home more points, concluding a strong debut World Superbike weekend.
The McAMS Yamaha team would like to thank everyone at Yamaha Racing, PATA Yamaha WorldSBK with Brixx and the wider Yamaha and World Superbike family for their support and making the team feel so welcome.
The team’s attention now returns to the day job, with the fifth round of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship getting underway at Brands Hatch on Friday.
WorldSBK Donington Park Race 2 Results
Superpole Race: DNF Race 2: 15th
“I feel a bit frustrated, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing as it is because I know I could have done more than the results we achieved. It was my fault today, I made a mistake in the Superpole race this morning and that gave me a penalty for Race 2. This morning, I felt really good, I felt like I could push on and better yesterday’s result but unfortunately clipped the back of Xavi and came down. I’m sorry to him and the team. Starting further back in race two, I got boxed in at turn one and got stuck behind some slower riders, once I got past them I caught the group in front. I was pleased I was able to do that, my pace was better than yesterday and the gap to the winner was better than yesterday despite starting further back. I’m pleased with my first weekend here riding this bike, it’s been good to get more bike time, I needed to get a bit more bike fitness and I definitely feel a lot better in myself on the bike which is positive for next weekend at Brands Hatch. A big thank you to everyone at Yamaha Motor Europe and UK, everyone at Crescent, GRT – everyone chipped in this weekend to help. I can’t thank the McAMS Yamaha team enough, they’ve done a great job this weekend and fit right into this paddock. Scoring points in your debut is definitely a good thing so it’s a good starting point for me here!”
“We are really proud of what Tarran has achieved this weekend. He’s a true racer so he’s a bit annoyed with the crash in the Superpole race as that limited our potential today with the penalty, but overall he has shown that he has what it takes to run with these guys. He had such little bike time and showed a lot of promise and I’m really pleased with how he’s handled himself this weekend. He’d be an asset to any team in this paddock and we really want to see him step up to the world stage so will do everything we can to help him do that. I’m also really proud of our team, we’ve come here to World Superbikes and held our own, not embarrassed ourselves and had a fantastic weekend. Thanks to Yamaha Racing and Crescent for all their support.”