Tarran Mackenzie to take take Danny Kent's place in Moto 2

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Tarran Mackenzie to take take Danny Kent's place in Moto 2

Post by al » Fri May 19, 2017 7:14 am

Mackenzie: It’s where I’ve always wanted to race
18 May 2017
“It was a no-brainer really. I understand it's a big step. But it's what I want to do at the end of the day so why not do it now? I'll try and learn as fast as I can” – Tarran Mackenzie
Read more at http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/248597 ... Isvtge8.99

Opportunities to race in grand prix don't come around often. When the offer to take Tarran Mackenzie into the Moto2 world championship came, the 21-year old jumped at the chance. “It was a no-brainer really,” he said of the chance to fill the seat vacated by Danny Kent in the Kiefer Racing team.

The reigning British Supersport champion, Mackenzie blitzed the opening of this year's series, claiming an impressive haul of six wins from as many races. Having desired a move to the world championship at the end of 2016, the young Scot was keen to further his riding as much as possible and will complete the remainder of this year on a Suter chassis.

On Thursday, Mackenzie spoke to Crash.net about how this opportunity came about, his life long ambitions of competing in the world championship and his perceived challenges of racing a Moto2 prototype machine.

Crash.net:

How did this ride come about?

Tarran Mackenzie:
One day I was watching Stefan Kiefer on TV explaining the situation. The next I got a call saying Stefan Kiefer was looking for a new rider. Lucio [Nicastro], my new crew chief, who had worked for Sam and Chaz Davies before, was really keen to get me on the bike, which was nice because I had never met him before or spoke to him before. He asked Stefan if he could get me on the bike after Austin. Stefan had a meeting with Dad. It happened on Saturday and by Tuesday it was sort of confirmed. I think on Thursday it was done. Then it was a case of telling my British Supersport team. So that was quite difficult. But the two team managers and all the guys understood that it was a big opportunity and one that doesn't come round very often. It's a fantastic opportunity that Stefan has given me. To go into a team half-way through my first year that's won two world championships, dominated it, got a lot of experience, Lucio has got a lot of experience too. They're good guys. They're a good team. It doesn't happen very often, especially coming from British Supersport. It's obviously a big step. I've never ridden this bike with these tyres or anything so it's going to be a case of how fast I can learn to ride the bike. It looks alright though so it should be good.

Crash.net:
So it was initiated by your crew chief Lucio Nicastro?

Tarran Mackenzie:
He worked with Chaz Davies for three years and then Sam for three years. For me it's perfect because he worked with Sam in World Supersport and he made the transition to Moto2. Sam came from an YZFR6 to a Moto2 bike the same as me. So he understands all that side of things. He asked Chaz and Michael Laverty and they came back quite positive text messages. He spoke to Stefan. Stefan spoke to dad and it all just worked out quite good really. I'm well happy.

Crash.net:
It's every rider's dream to ride in grand prix but it can't have been an easy decision to leave your team in the British championship after the start to the year you've had.

Tarran Mackenzie:
It wasn't an easy decision because the team in British Supersport are so nice. They're such good guys. It was hard to leave them but as far as my riding's concerned, it's good winning races and being at the front but my riding will be pushed more riding round in 25th place than it will winning British Supersport races. I don't care what championship I'm in. As long as I'm the best I can be. If I hadn't won the British Supersport championship last year it might have been slightly different. But I couldn't really prove myself any more. I won the first six races. At the end of last year I wanted to do the world championship, whether it was Moto2 or World Supersport. The options didn't really work out. So when this opportunity came along I thought I had to do it. This is what I want to do. British Supersport this year would be really good and then at the end of this year I'd think, 'OK, I want to do Moto2. Let's ring Stefan Kiefer again and see if that ride's still available.' And it probably wouldn't have been. To turn down something like this, it was like a no-brainer really. I understand it's a big step. It's a big, big challenge. But it's what I want to do at the end of the day so why not do it now. I'll try and learn as fast as I can.

Crash.net:
Considering your dad's career, I assume you had wanted to come and race here from a very young age.

Tarran Mackenzie:
Exactly. His days were a bit different with the partying and everything. I'm sure he won't let me do that! When Taylor, my brother, did grand prix in 2011, I came to a few rounds then. I did two years in Red Bull Rookies. I mean, this is where you want to be as a rider. It's where I've always wanted to race. It's like a bit of a dream, really. It's only just started but I'm looking forward to it.

Crash.net:
Will FP1 tomorrow be your first time on a Moto2 bike?

Tarran Mackenzie:
I've never ridden one. It's all completely new to me. Sam Lowes has given me a little bit of help. He's sort of been in this position a few years ago. He has been explaining a few things to me about the feeling that I have on the bike. Ultimately I'll know by tomorrow what the feeling is like. Then we have a test on Monday which is nice. I can spend a bit more time trying different things. With it being mixed weather this weekend we might not be able to get through a lot. It'll just be a case of learning how to ride it, I guess.

Crash.net:
What areas do you think will take the most time to adjust to?

Tarran Mackenzie:
The Supersport bike and tyres are quite flexible. There is a lot of movement whereas this bike's rigid. You can feel every bump so that side of things is different. The power; this is slower than my Supersport bike by about ten horsepower. It's lighter as well, which should suit me. Obviously the riding on slicks is eventually going to be nice. Maybe not the first few laps but, as I've said, I've got a lot of learning to do. It's like my first day back at school. I'm buzzing to ride.

Crash.net:
You say it's like being back at school. Is your aim for this weekend just to absorb and learn as much as possible?

Tarran Mackenzie:
Yeah, just try and do as many laps as possible really. To understand it. The bike moves a lot compared to a Supersport bike, just with backing it in and sliding. Those tyres and suspension. You can have two of the same bikes and riding one can feel completely different to the other. So riding this is going to be a bit different for me but I'm excited.

Crash.net:
How will you find the lack of electronics on this bike?

Tarran Mackenzie:
It [The British Supersport bike] had a Motec on it. You could adjust the engine braking and throttle, everything like that. This bike is more like an old school bike. I never used the clutch on my British Supersport bike whereas on this I will. I had to blip it whereas I don't need to blip it on this. Some things are completely different. Sam obviously got used to it pretty quickly. As long as I can get my head around riding it, it will be a case of learning a few tracks and learning the bike.

Crash.net:
You had surgery on your pinkie finger on your right hand recently. Is it more or less OK?

Tarran Mackenzie:
It's fine. When I came here the team were like, 'Oh, no, your pinkie!' I was like, 'No, it's fine.' It's all healed pretty much. The scar's freshly healed. It's just the tendon. I have to have it [the bandage] on so I don't bend it. The doctor said I could have a wonky finger or a straight finger. My mum said, 'I don't want you having a wonky finger' so I've kept it on. There is no pain. Alpinestars have made me a glove that I can put the splint into so that should help me as well. That's nice. I'll be alright.

Crash.net:
Will your dad Niall be here this weekend to give you a few pointers?

Tarran Mackenzie:
Yeah, my dad's here. He'll come to most of them. Then the ones he doesn't come to Taylor will come, as long as they don't clash. I'll always have someone here. I've got a few friends in the paddock, which is nice. Stefan and all the team are really kind and looking after me. That side of things won't be a problem. Dad can take the scooter along the service road and go out to watch. If I didn't have him it might be a little more difficult. I'm very lucky on that side of things and very grateful. I'm excited to ride tomorrow.
Read more at http://www.crash.net/motog ... Isvtge8.99

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