Tarran Mackenzie “doing a pretty good job with what we’ve got”

Tarran Mackenzie made a breakthrough at the recent Assen WorldSBK round but admits his next goal is the top ten.

Tarran Mackenzie, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April
Tarran Mackenzie, Dutch WorldSBK, 19 April

After a difficult start to the 2024 WorldSBK season, positive signs were there for Tarran Mackenzie and the PETRONAS MIE Honda team.

The Malaysian-backed team are not running the same machinery as Team HRC, and with the factory Honda team also struggling, good results have been very few and far between for several seasons. 

But Mackenzie was able to deliver a very impressive performance in Assen.

Speaking about his breakthrough round where he achieved a best of 11th, Mackenzie said: “It was a stronger weekend overall and the wet sessions just helped me build confidence and it was more of a level playing field.

“I had some good results, was a bit better in Superpole and closer to the guys in front. In the Superpole Race, I felt like I messed up a little bit; I felt like I could have been stronger in the opening laps but I was determined to have a good start. 

“It made such a difference getting dragged round with the likes of Garrett and Xavi. It was cool from that side; we caught Rinaldi and then it was us three towards the end.

“I tried my best to pass them both but couldn’t do it; Garrett ran wide and then I managed to get by so to finish right behind Xavi is great, as well as being in the mix and scoring points. It was really positive.”

With a lack of pre-season testing at his disposal compared to other teams, Mackenzie was already on the backfoot heading into his first full WorldSBK campaign.

But the former BSB champion saw updates come his way in Assen which aided the performance.

“It was a struggle for sure and in Australia, we had no testing really compared to anyone else,” said Mackenzie.

“We didn’t have the bike we’re riding now until the Tuesday before Australia, then I crashed, the weather didn’t help and it was just a bit of a struggle.

“Having Mick [Shanley] in my corner from the Barcelona test onwards, I made a big step and was a bit closer to the factory guys in Barcelona and had a bit of a better race there.

“Then, we made another step here even if it was hard. We didn’t get many dry laps so we went back to base setting from Barcelona.

“In the rain, we were a lot stronger so it was nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel and a bit more positivity lifts the whole morale of the team.”

In terms of what he wants to achieve going forward, Mackenzie is aiming to break into the top ten in the coming rounds.

Mackenzie said: “Everyone’s working hard and trying their best with the package we’ve got.

“We’re always trying to think of new things and in the wet and dry, try to be quite competitive.

“OK, it’s not top ten and at the front but I think with what we’ve got, we’re doing a pretty good job. We’ve scored an 11th so for sure, the next goal is the top ten.”

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