Eazi Grip

Tarran Mackenzie stuns with slick tyre gamble to give Honda’s first WorldSSP victory since 2016

The Brit claimed his first WorldSSP victory after opting not to pit; Bulega takes 16th and Manzi retires from dramatic Race 2.

Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) stunned the FIM Supersport World Championship as he opted not to change tyres when the rain came down during Race 2 at the Autodrom Most on his way to a maiden win. After starting from 22nd on the grid, Mackenzie’s pace as the track got wetter and then dried out again allowed him to move into the lead of the race during the Acerbis Czech Round, while there were more title race twists. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) and title rival Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) both scored zero points.

The gamble pays off: Staying on slicks the right decision

Bulega and Manzi tried to pull away as the lights went out in the dry conditions, but their races soon unravelled as they, along with most of the field, opted to switch tyres on Lap 8 as the rain fell harder and soaked the circuit. Manzi was ahead of the #11 when they entered the pits but, on the wet-weather tyres, Bulega was able to get ahead of the #62. However, the track dried out again with Bulega finishing in 16th and Manzi retiring with a technical problem on Lap 11.

While most riders opted to pit, several decided not to and this allowed rookie Mackenzie to surge to the front of the field, taking huge chunks out of his rivals by lapping around five seconds quicker than his rivals. Although his pace dropped off as the track dried, the gap was enough to hold off Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) to claim his first win in the Championship and Honda’s first since Lusail in 2016; their 105th in total.

Schroetter was joined on the podium by teammate Bahattin Sofuoglu who had a dramatic race. In the dry, the one-time winner was rapid as he looked to make his way up the order, but he crashed at Turn 10 on Lap 7 as the rain got heavier. The Turk was able to bounce back from this to finish in third to make it to MV Agustas on the rostrum and giving Sofuoglu his fourth podium albeit almost 19 seconds down on his teammate.

Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2023 in News

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