Petronas MIE MS Honda’s Tarran Mackenzie had a baptism of fire as his WorldSSP career began in Phillip Island on Friday.
A challenging pre-season test gave way to a similar opening day of competition as the former British Champion got to grips with his yet to be homologated CBR600RR at the 4.4km Australian layout.
Mackenzie secured a personal best of 1’36.873 during the morning’s first practice but with temperatures increasing across the afternoon and a turn ten crash three minutes into the day’s final 40, there was little time to improve in the second session, leaving him last in the combined standings with just 20 laps completed overall.
“FP1 went well as I was able to get some laps in after missing a good part of this week’s tests,” Mackenzie admitted from Phillip Island. “So it was nice to ride and improve my feeling with the bike.
“In the afternoon I unfortunately made a small mistake early on which meant that I missed most of the session after crashing.
“Not ideal of course, but I think we can improve and continue to work on increasing my feeling with the bike tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting some more laps in because we’re still limited in terms of the track time we’ve had.”
There was further turbulent news for the 27-year-old after his bike of choice was listed as ‘pending’ on the list of homologated machinery for the 2023 season.
The FIM and WorldSBK organisers, Dorna, released a statement confirming a waiver had been granted to allow the Supersport team to compete in both the opening rounds, at Phillip Island and Mandalika.
“As a result of a logistical and customs problem, it was impossible for Honda to present the engine (and the other mandatory parts) in time to proceed with the FIM Phase 2 Homologation,” the statement released on Friday morning read. “Although the FIM Phase 2 Homologation is in progress it is very unlikely that this motorcycle can be homologated in time.
“The FIM Permanent Bureau has decided to grant a waiver to Honda provided that all manufacturers involved in the 2023 Motul FIM Supersport World Championship agree.
“The unanimous agreement confirmed today by the MSMA will allow Honda and its Petronas MIE-MS Racing Honda WorldSSP team to participate in the first two rounds of the 2023 Championship.
“All points scored by the Petronas MIE-MS Racing HONDA WorldSSP team will remain pending until phase 2 of the FIM homologation is completed at the latest before the first European round to be held in Assen from April 21-23.”