The seventh Supersport World Championship round is now in play at the historic Imola racetrack in Italy. Having completed the free practice sessions on Friday, PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team riders Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin were back at the Italian track today for the Superpole qualifying phase and the first of the weekend’s two 17-lap Supersport races.

The 20-minute Superpole qualifying phase ran according to schedule on Saturday morning, in very hot and sunny conditions. Both Mackenzie and Norrodin were able to make progress in terms of their outright lap times, particularly Adam who was able to shave off a good eight tenths with respect to his best of yesterday. A fastest time of 1’54.869 put British rider Tarran in twenty-eighth place at the end of the 20-minute phase, while a 1’55.231 for his Malaysian team-mate Adam equated to thirty-first position at the session’s end.

Work continued in the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team garage in the hours leading up to the first Superbike race, which ran according to schedule at 2pm local time. Norrodin made a very strong start, profiting from a chaotic situation through the first turns to move up nine positions. The Malaysian was working hard to try and exploit the situation but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, the rider suffering a small technical issue that prevented him from continuing after lap seven. Tarran also made up ground on lap one, placing twenty-fifth. From there, the Brit battled with both the conditions and the track to close in on the riders immediately ahead of him. Picking up pace as the race went on, to the extent that he set his best time on lap fourteen of seventeen, Mackenzie crossed the line a valiant twenty-first after the race was red-flagged on the final lap following an incident for two other riders.

Tarran Mackenzie P21

“We were a little unlucky in today’s qualifying as the red flag came out at the end, preventing me from bettering my time. Then the race was my most difficult of the season so far, I’d say. We are working very, very hard and with regard to the chassis everything is pretty good, but in other areas we’re still struggling. The hot conditions were not an issue at all and I felt good in myself but I admit it was tough going, so I’m hoping we can make a big improvement when we get to the next round.”

Adam Norrodin DNF

“It wasn’t a bad race actually and I was quite happy with the start, where we were able to make up a number of positions. We’ve improved the bike over the course of the weekend and while others struggled in the hot conditions, I was able to be quite consistent in terms of lap times. From lap seven, I unfortunately had a small technical issue that prevented us from continuing. This was a real pity as it was looking like it might be one of our best races, despite us having started from further back on the grid. Now we turn our attention to tomorrow’s race, heads down and full focus as always.”

Full Results *Courtesy of WorldSBK