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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