It appears Tarran Mackenzie will not continue as a Moto2 rider beyond this November, after the Scot revealed he is searching for a ride in the British Superbike Championship for 2018.

Mackenzie has an option to remain with his current squad – Kiefer Racing – for a further season in Moto2, but AirGrinder, the team’s title sponsor, is withdrawing its support for ’18, meaning the reigning British Supersport champion would need to pay a substantial amount for the seat.

“I don’t want people spending that kind of money on me,” Mackenzie said, referring to the money needed to stay with the team, which uses a Suter chassis, for next season’s 19 races. “I’d rather go play golf or do something else in that case.”

After finding certain rides in World Supersport teams would also require him to find substantial backing, Mackenzie believes a return to the British championship is the likeliest option, with the Superbike class his preference.

“I’m not riding here [in the Kiefer team] and probably won’t be in Moto2,” said Mackenzie on Sunday, after finishing 27th at Aragon. “Up until maybe Brno it was looking quite good. He just wanted to see progression. In Brno I went under the two second mark [per lap to the leader] and then Austria was a little bit better.

“At the end of Austria he [Stefan Kiefer, team boss] basically said that AirGrinder have pulled out. Don’t get me wrong: AirGrinder leaving isn’t the reason why. The reason is I can’t bring money to the team. Before I didn’t have to and now that AirGrinder is gone I’d have to sell my house or something like that to come and ride here.

“There is the option if I want to do it but we don’t have that kind of money. I don’t want people spending that kind of money on me. I’d rather go play golf or do something else in that case.

“We looked at World Supersport options in Portimao. Neil [Hodgson] went there but again it was a lot of money. It looks like we’re going back to BSB. But nothing is sorted or signed yet.”

So British Superbike is his definite preference? “Yeah, definitely,” Mackenzie said. “I wouldn’t go back to Supersport because I feel like I’m riding better than ever.

“OK, it doesn’t look great on the TV and to people watching. I know my riding has improved massively after just coming here and riding with these guys. To go back to Supersport, there would be no point. The likely step is Superbike. I don’t know. Hopefully we can get something sorted and we’ll see.”

Mackenzie was a late addition to the team in 2017, and replaced Danny Kent from Le Mans onward. Without any testing or prior Moto2 experience, the Scot has made steady improvements in adapting to a prototype chassis. His best result to date was 20th place in Austria.

Current team boss Stefan Kiefer confirmed to Crash.net he was willing to continue the relationship with Mackenzie for a further year, but the loss of his title sponsor has left him short of budget.

Kiefer will run Dominique Aegerter, a recent winner at the Grand Prix of Misano and ninth in the current championship standings, in 2018 and is on the lookout for a second rider that can bring money to the team. If he can not find a suitable name however, Kiefer is prepared to run just one rider for next year.

“We will continue [with Tarran] until the end of the season,” said Kiefer. “We will try, at least I hope that nothing will happen. For 2018 we are not together. The relationship between Tarran, his father and us is really good and we all try the best for him.

“The problem is financial-wise, we are not able to come together for 2018. Otherwise for sure we were in contact and we were looking forward to coming together but finally it’s not possible. That’s because of the budget.

“AirGrinder doesn’t continue so it’s even hard for us to have the budget for Domi. We are still looking for a second rider, 100 percent. At the moment it’s not so easy to get someone, who has potential and also has some budget. In case we are unable to get this second rider we will only continue with Dominique for 2018.”

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