“I still can’t believe it” - Tarran Mackenzie wins first WorldSSP race

Tarran Mackenzie claimed his first WorldSSP win of the season after a tyre gamble saw him remain on slicks when rain fell.
Tarran Mackenzie, MIE MS Racing Honda WorldSSP Most 2023
Tarran Mackenzie, MIE MS Racing Honda WorldSSP Most 2023

Starting 22nd on the grid, Mackenzie moved up the order after a big group of riders elected to pit when rain led to the circuit being completely wet from lap eight onwards.

Mackenzie, who has endured a difficult season in Supersport aboard the PETRONAS MIE Honda machine, instead chose to test his luck with the worn slicks, which paid off as the rain began to stop.

As the circuit dried out, Mackenzie faced the prospect of having quicker riders catch him for the victory, however, the 2021 British Superbike champion held on by two seconds ahead of MV Agusta duo Marcel Schrotter and Bahattin Sofuoglu.

Honda’s first WorldSSP winner since 2016, Mackenzie said: "I’m so happy! Of course I didn’t expect all this. But I knew that, in a scenario like today’s, I would be ready to stick my neck out. 

"I’d seen the SSP300 race yesterday where one of the riders opted not to pit and stay out, so I essentially did that, and it paid off today. When the rain came, I just put my head down and did my own thing. 

"Before I knew it, I was P7, then P5, P3 but there were still ten laps to go, and I knew that our pace in the dry might not be enough. 

"But I stayed focused, and we did it! I still can’t believe it to be honest. It’s been a tough year for the entire team and so to take a result like this is incredible. 

"We always bring something new each weekend and I cannot thank the team enough, they are doing their very best to improve the package and I cannot ask for more than that, so I always do my best to give 100% as well, on and off the track. 

"This win is for the entire team, Midori, Honda, PETRONAS and all the sponsors."

In the battle for the championship, Nicolo Bulega remains in control as he leads Stefano Manzi by 47 points.

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