Tarran Mackenzie has come away from his first weekend as a Grand Prix racer satisfied with the progress he made on the Kiefer Racing Suter despite crashing out of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans while battling with Axel Pons.
The reigning British Supersport champion, a mid-season replacement for former world champion Danny Kent, admitted that he got caught out during the battle – but says that he’s making fast progress learning the bike.
“I nearly ran into the back of Pons in turn nine. I kept catching him, and nearly ran into him two laps before and had to run on, which left a bit of a gap – then I dived on the brakes and nearly ran into him again and crashed. I’ve struggled all weekend with front end feel, and we made a change for the race that made it better, but it just caught me out.
“Compared to the Pirellis where I can feel where the limit is, because the Dunlops are new to me I don’t know where it is yet – and obviously found it! But I’ve hardly had much dry track time, so I was happy to be running with Pons and catching Bassani. It wasn’t bad for my first Moto2 race!”
Progress seemed to come easier than expected for Mackenzie in the class, too, as he admitted after the race that the bike didn’t feel as dissimilar as he had initially expected.
“I thought I’d be last and way off the pace, but my pace for points was only a second off guys like Cortese, so that wasn’t as bad as I expected. It’s not an easy class and the races are long and hard.
“The tyres are better, a lot harder and I was able to do 0.2 off by best with three laps to go. It feels like my Moto3 bike, just bigger and faster, and it’s just getting my head back into a proper race bike. It’s more rigid, but I just have to try and get used to that!”
And while he’s going into two circuits he doesn’t know in the form of Mugello and Catalunya, he says that he’s confident that he can make even more rapid progress in the coming weeks.
“I don’t know Mugello or Catalunya, but at least I know the bike now, so it’s just going to be a case of learning the circuits. Le Mans was a test, and we spent it learning things. We’ve just got to keep trying.”
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