Although finishing inside the top 20 of a grand prix for the first time was a cause for satisfaction, Tarran Mackenzie wasn’t entirely focussed on the result. Instead, the Scot felt he made a clear break through with bike set-up, which brought him closer to the class’ leading names.

Mackenzie had feared a trying weekend lay ahead when he suffered a heavy tumble in the rain on Friday morning, but spent the following sessions for the Moto2 class working on braking technique, an area he identified as in need of the most work.

The reigning British Supersport champion, who was competing in his seventh grand prix for Kiefer Racing’s Moto2 team, noted how he had been braking at the same point as team-mate Dominique Aegerter. The Swiss rider would, however, shed speed a good deal quicker before the corner arrived.

A change with the front fork setting prior to the race appeared to be a step in the right direction, allowing him to brake with greater intensity. Along with scoring 20th place – his best result in GPs – Mackenzie crossed the finish line 46s behind race winner Franco Morbidelli, 21s closer than his previous best, which came five races before at Mugello.

“[That was] Good,” he began. “I improved by half a second [per lap]. I struggled a lot on Friday and Saturday. I had a big crash on Friday. We kept trying things in every session. We tried another thing in warm-up and it didn’t work.

“The bike set-up is very similar to my team-mate’s but there were some parts that weren’t. We just changed my bike to basically the same as his. Some things, like the springs for my weight, are different but I felt a lot better.

“At the end of the day, my feeling with the bike was better and my race time was better. I think my fastest race time was 1m 7s [behind the winner], and that was 46s. So that’s twenty seconds faster. That was a big improvement.

“The biggest thing is my brake pressure wasn’t very high. We’d maybe brake the same but I wouldn’t stop it as fast as he would. In the race, the front fork change we made, which was to be more similar to his, my brake pressure went up straight away. I just felt more confident to brake harder.

“That side of things was good,” he said. “The rear wasn’t the best. It was sliding quite a but. My team was saying this track probably isn’t the best for testing, but it’s perfect for me now. There are some things I definitely want to try before Silverstone, and we have a chance to try it tomorrow.”

The chance to which he was referring was a one-day test, planned for Monday at the Red Bull Ring, which would allow him to continue adapting his braking style to a Moto2 machine and the Dunlop tyres.

“We can try some more things that we didn’t get to try this weekend,” he said. “Then that puts me in a good shape for Silverstone. This track over-exaggerates all of that [heavy braking] as well. The first two or three corners, really. It’s good for me, for my overall riding, to practice for the future.”

Next up is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a track Mackenzie knows well from his time in the British championship. His aim for the weekend is clear; continue bridging the gap to the front men.

“My first home grand prix... Luckily I haven’t got that much pressure on me,” he joked. “I’m excited to go there. It’s a track I know, at least. It’s about an hour and a half from my home so it’s nice to drive there, instead of flying. A lot of my family and friends and sponsors are going, so it should be good.

“I’ve raced there since I was 14 – every year from 2010. I come to these tracks… I know what a track feels like at Silverstone, especially a Supersport bike. Going there, I know already what the feeling should be like.

“With my bike improving a lot this weekend hopefully we can just keep improving, make a step. I was just 1.5s off the fastest lap of the race in that one. That’s by far the closest I’ve been to the fastest lap time. On Friday I was worried it was going to be a bit of a rubbish weekend, but I turned it around in the race.”

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Not bad Taz for your first Top 20 finish of the season. It's just that it doesnt seem all that great as there were only 20 who finished. The word last place comes to mind!!

Couldnt agree more Monstermash - the reality is that Taz is showing no signs of progress at all, despite Ryder's usual effussive bullsh*t. Silverstone has to be his last chance to show some progress, as he wont have the usual learning the track excuse & should know the bike by now. I have a feeling he's going to prove to be a great National rider, but not sure he's got it for Worlds (& yes i do realise that he has more bike riding talent in his little finger than i'll ever have). cant see where he's going in 2018 as current performance doesnt warrant him a place on the Moto 2 grid. I'm not being harsh as i wouldnt expect him in the top 10, but he's nearly always last or in the bottom 3. 

nothing against him personally & i hope to be proved wrong

 

Not many have come from British supersport & done amazingly at first. Give him time, the bike has to be ridden completely differently to anything he's ever ridden before.

 

Lets not judge or draw any conclusions until what we can see Jake Dixon do next weekend in Moto2.

why not compare him to Joe Roberts - 2 races & 6 points!

yes it was in the wet, but isnt that supposed to be a leveller & where the Brits "excel"?

if i recall he was 17th at one point in the race (just after the big crash?), where did Taz go from there? backwards!!!! sorry, but he's not doing it

I may be wrong but hasn't Roberts been riding a Moto2 bike in the Spanish Championship this year, so he already has more knowledge of the bike?

Don't get me wrong, really pleased to see another American in the paddock finally.

Joe was indeed riding a Moto2 bike in Spanish championship, but that bike was 2015 version of Kalex.. In world championship he is riding 2017 Kalex, which is pretty different.. So no real advantage.. 

Thanks Matty, good to know.

and sorry, but how can last place equate to "i turned it round in the race....." and be anything but a rubbish weekend?

perhaps Taz has been listening to ryder and believes that he is showing "real progress"

Well 20 seconds closer to the race winner's time is definitely a step forward. Not many riders come into Moto2 without going through Moto3 and do really well - especially on a bike that probably isn't the best in class. Even WSS Champ Sofuoglu couldn't make it work. 

Personally I'm glad to see the team giving him so much time right now. At least - unlike Aprilia - no one will be able to accuse them of impatience if he doesn't make the grade.

I totally agree with your comment about the team's patience, & full credit to them for that. As you say, shows Aprilia what a contract means and the meaning of the word honour.

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