The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team has very much made the ‘Most’ of the eighth Supersport World Championship round in the Czech Republic, scoring an incredible debut win in the Supersport World Championship with British rider Tarran Mackenzie, who put in a stellar performance on slick tyres on a wet track! Team-mate Adam Norrodin also finished the second of the weekend’s races inside the top five, the team’s strategy very much paying off in challenging conditions that caught out many of their rivals.
The second WorldSSP race got underway as scheduled at 12.30pm local time and in dry conditions, with riders Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin starting from the eighth and tenth row of the grid respectively. From twenty-second, Mackenzie was soon caught up in a battle with two other riders, moving briefly into twentieth place before slipping to twenty-fourth. Team-mate Norrodin made up five places through the first turns and was lying twenty-second at the end of lap one, part of a group of five or six riders battling for the top twenty. From around lap five, rain began to fall and this had an immediate impact on the action on track, with several riders crashing as a result. Twenty-second on lap seven, Mackenzie was lapping three seconds quicker than the riders immediately of him, looking very comfortable on slick tyres despite the mixed track conditions. When the majority of riders decided to pit in order to switch tyres on lap nine, Norrodin and Mackenzie elected to stay out, moving up into fourth and seventh place respectively. By lap ten both PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda riders were on the provisional podium, with Tarran lying second and Adam third. With the track drying, the team’s decision to stay out on slick tyres proved correct and, on the very next lap, British rider Tarran was able to pass Sofuoglu to move into the lead. Over the subsequent laps, Tarran was able to build a good lead, to as much as nine seconds, lapping several seconds quicker than the chasing pack, a group comprising four riders, including team-mate Adam. While the Malaysian was able to hold fifth through the final stages to round out the top five, it was Brit who made the difference over the final laps, managing his lead and keeping a cool head to win the race with a two second lead.
Today’s result does not only mark a debut win for the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team but is also the first Supersport win for Honda since 2016 when Kyle Smith triumphed in Qatar. Tarran Mackenzie also scores his debut Supersport win, taking home the full 25 points as a result. This means that the British rider moves up to seventeeth in the general standings, with a total of 40 points. Norrodin now lies twenty-second with 20 points.
The team will now take a well-deserved break before returning to action at Magny-Cours in France, the stage for round nine of the Supersport World Championship on 8-10 September.
Tarran Mackenzie WINNER
“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.”
Adam Norrodin P5
“Conditions became really tricky in today’s race, but I had a good feeling right from the start. When the rain came on, I saw a lot of riders crashing and I wondered whether I should head into the pits to change tyres. It was 50-50, but I was looking at the sky and thinking that it was probably going to improve and dry out. So I carried on and soon realised I was up in the top group. I was more focused on whether the tarmac was drying than on my actual position! But it’s amazing to finish P5 of course, and I want to wish Tarran huge congratulations – he did an amazing job. This is a first win for the team so everyone can head into the holidays very happy I think.”
Midori Moriwaki (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team Director)
“I’m very happy with today’s achievement, with Tarran’s amazing win and a strong P5 for Adam. Both riders rode amazingly well while keeping a cool head throughout every phase of a very challenging race. It’s the effort of the whole group paying off, because the team members and riders have never given up, and this is what makes the difference when the moment to seize an opportunity arises. A big thank you to everyone on the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, the riders, Honda and the sponsors. This will only push us to work even harder in the future.”