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Mackenzie waits patiently for Honda engine upgrade, but 'step in the right direction'

Gold & Goose
Tarran Mackenzie, Petronas MIE Racing, Honda CBR600RR, 2023 WorldSSP, Donington Park, portrait, pit, garage [credit - Gold & Goose]

Tarran Mackenzie was satisfied to have made a 'step in the right direction' on a circuit he knows after coming close to breaking back into the WorldSSP points on home soil at Donington Park.

The 2021 BSB Champion has endured a tough first year in the WorldSSP ranks, Mackenzie hampered by the lacklustre performance of his ageing Honda CBR600RR package, which is noticeably down on power compared with its rivals.

Though he landed a shock top five finish in the wet on his debut at Phillip Island, in the dry he's struggled towards the back of the field, his Petronas MIE-prepared bike giving away 5-10km/h in top speed to its Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki, MV Agusta and Triumph rivals.

Tarran Mackenzie, Petronas MIE Racing, Honda CBR600RR, 2023 WorldSSP, Donington Park, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

However, the combination of track experience and input from Tim Seed, who worked with him at McAMS Yamaha, helped Mackenzie into the mid-field on pace, even if he didn't quite make it into the points.

“It has been a step better this weekend," he told BSN. "I have had my electronics guy from McAMS Yamaha, Tim Seed, come here to work and it has just made it a lot easier of a bike ride. It has been a lot more consistent on track and kind of riding the same bike every time I go out.

"For sure it is easier because he understands me, and he has worked with me for the past five years. That side is good, but he has also brought a lot to the team, and helped Adam as well. That side of it has been really good. Power-wise it is still the same as it was in Misano, but hopefully for Imola we can make a step there with the engine.

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"It is going in the right direction because to qualify 15th, I definitely didn’t expect that. And I am riding it better at a track I know well, and have had previous 600 Supersport experience on. I am just getting into it a lot better this weekend, riding it better.”

Though pleased to have made a step forward on personal pace alone, Mackenzie is now eagerly anticipating the Honda's much needed upgrade due for the next round in Imola.

“On paper it looks like we have made a big step with the bike, but the engine is still the same, still towards the back end of the speed traps, but I am riding it better for sure. I am enjoying it so far.”

“Tim will be at Imola as well, so hopefully we will be able to make another step there,” said Taz. “It is a new track for pretty much everybody and a lot of riders haven’t raced there in a long time, so it may be a bit more of a level playing field. I have heard that it is quite a unique little track, maybe BSB-esque. It might suit us.”

Additional reporting by Ollie Barstow

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