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Tarran Mackenzie tests with Honda at Suzuka, plots 8 Hours debut

Tarran Mackenzie could be in line for a prized outing at the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race after being called up by Honda to test the factory CBR1000RR-R Fireblade in Japan.

The 2021 British Superbike Champion is in the early stages of a new relationship with the Japanese marque, leading to a deal to race its CBR600RR in the WorldSSP Championship with the affiliated PETRONAS MIE Racing team.

Though the Scot has endured a difficult start to the season on the underpowered machine, a headline-grabbing debut outing in the wet at Phillip Island yielded a top five finish.


As a reward for his giant-killing efforts, HRC Honda invited Mackenzie to Japan to sample its factory Honda CBR1000RR-R at Suzuka prior to Round 4 in Misano, then again last week in place of the injured Iker Lecuona.

Though Mackenzie says there is no deal on the table to compete at the blue riband Suzuka 8 Hours in August, he has expressed his desire to add the prestigious event to his repertoire.  

“I’ve always wanted to do it and Midori [Moriwaki - MIE Racing team manager] asked at the end of last year,  if there was a space in a Honda team, then would I be keen,” Mackenzie told BSN.

“Then in Barcelona I was asked if I wanted to test the Factory bike at Suzuka, so I went to a private test a week before Misano. 

“It all went well, then Iker got injured and they asked me to go out again and replace him for the test to gain some more experience. 

“It was nice for me to understand how it all works, learning the track and the bike for the future, as well as to be part of the best team at the event.

“We’ll see what happens, but it’s been great for me riding the superbike again and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

Considered one of racing’s most lucrative races among the ‘Big Four’ Japanese marques, Honda scored a commanding victory in 2022 with local specialists Tetsuta Nagashima and Takumi Takahashi being joined by ex-MotoGP rider Lecuona.

Though Honda is yet to announce its Suzuka 8 Hours line-up, it is expected to retain the same trio, but could field a second factory entry to potentially include Mackenzie and Xavi Vierge, who has also tested.

In addition to Mackenzie’s two Suzuka tests, he has also sampled PETRONAS MIE Racing’s WorldSBK Honda CBR1000RR-R in place of the injured Eric Granado.

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