The opening round of the 2023 Supersport World Championship is taking place at Philip Island, the stunning Australian circuit the stage for today’s first qualifying session and race of this new race season. It was something of a baptism by fire for the PETRONAS MIE MS Racing Honda Team, that concluded what turned out to be a complicated three-part wet race 1 with very strong results. Rider Tarran Mackenzie proved to be a master of the wet conditions, crossing the line an impressive fifth, while team-mate Adam Norrodin worked hard to recover from a crash, finishing twelfth.
There was rain to contend with during the first Superpole session of the season, although conditions improved throughout the session. The 20-minute qualifying format is new to both Mackenzie and Norrodin, who did their best to adapt and complete a clean lap aboard their CBR600RR machines. A frenetic final phase saw the entire field pick up the pace, with the Brit setting a best of 1’36.935 and the Malaysian a 1’38.157. With these results, the PETRONAS MIE MS Racing Honda riders qualified nineteenth and twenty-first for the weekend’s races.
The young duo lined up on row seven of the grid for the afternoon’s first race, which began in the rain. Norrodin made a very strong start, making up several positions and placing fifteenth by the end of lap one. Mackenzie struggled a little more to get into a rhythm and was lying eighteenth place on lap three when the race was brought to a halt with the red flag after two others riders crashed at turn 7. The organisation attempted to restart the race shortly afterwards, but heavy rain meant that it was again delayed. The rain eventually got going, reduced to ten laps, with riders starting from the positions they were in prior to the incident. Eighteenth on the grid, Mackenzie made a lightning start and was straight into eighth through the first corners, followed by Norrodin in twelfth. Very comfortable on the wet asphalt, Tarran made rapid progress, moving from seventh to fifth by lap three. Adam was lying twelfth when unfortunately he suffered an innocuous crash at turn 4 on lap six. Able to continue, the Malaysian didn’t give up and ultimately crossed the line twelfth to score his first precious championship points. Mackenzie battled hard throughout and finished his debut WorldSSP race an impressive fifth, particularly considering his original grid position.
The PETRONAS MIE MS Racing Honda team will be back on track on Sunday for the second race of the weekend.
Tarran Mackenzie P5
“I’m very happy with today’s result of course. The rain meant we had a more level playing field and right from the start, I felt comfortable and was able to push. I definitely need to make the most of this kind of situation moving forward and am pleased that our first race turned out to be a wet one. I didn’t expect that to be the case of course, but I can say that I had a lot of fun and am very happy with fifth in my first race of the season.”
Adam Norrodin P12
“We finished in the points in the first race and that’s positive, but I’m feeling a little disappointed as we had an issue with the transponder in qualifying and could only complete two laps. We made a good start when the race first started and had managed to reach top 15 before the red flag. Unfortunately though, a misunderstanding with the team regarding the tyres affected my result in the restarted race. I hope that things are less complicated tomorrow as, for now, I’m disappointed. Now we have to look ahead to tomorrow, when I plan to do my best in race 2.”