McAMS Yamaha leave the third round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike championship pleased with another strong points haul despite a challenging race day at Donington Park.
Hopes were high for Sunday after Mackenzie finished runner-up in yesterday’s opening race, but things wouldn’t all go to plan for the local lad in Sunday’s two outings.
Starting strongly in the second race, Mackenzie was with the front group throughout, sitting comfortably in fifth at half race distance. Looking good, he began to pick off the riders in front but as he did the heavens began to open with the red flag coming out to stop the race just as the 23-year-old passed Ducati’s Josh Brookes for fourth with nine laps to go. With the result going back to the last time the riders crossed the line, Mackenzie was classified third in the shortened race.
An incident involving another rider early in the second race saw Jason O’Halloran punted back towards the rear end of the top ten. Making his way back through, he was seventh when the red flag came out.
With the pace so tight, both riders were further back on the grid for race three with Mackenzie starting eighth and O’Halloran tenth. The duo got off the line well but had a number of riders to pick off before joining the leading group. Once past Kawasaki’s Hector Barbera, Mackenzie began making decent progress and made his way up to second place, ahead of Honda’s Xavi Fores. However, the Spaniard wasn’t keen to surrender and put up a strong fight with the duo enjoying a titanic battle in the final ten laps of the race. A small mistake from Mackenzie allowed Fores to bridge a gap, and with Oxford Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell joining the party it soon became a three-way battle – with the latter pipping Mackenzie for third at the final turn on the last lap by just 0.078 seconds.
Quickest man on track for a number of laps with a far improved feeling with his YZF-R1, O’Halloran looked set to follow his team-mate through the pack until a crash at Coppice brought his race to a premature end.
It was a day to forget for Matt Truelove, who retired from both races with technical problems as a result of a monster crash at the infamous Craner curves in morning warm-up.
Mackenzie now sits third in the championship, just seven points off new leader Redding while O’Halloran’s DNF moves him back to tenth.
The team will be back in action for a test at Knockhill on 10th June before Brands Hatch on 14/15/16 June.
Race 2: 5th Race 3: 4th Championship: 3rd
“The first race was OK. I didn’t come through fast enough and towards the end of the race I started to chip away at a podium, but unfortunately the rain stopped play. In the last race I started seventh so had a bit of work to do from the start, but I came through. Someone made a mistake at the last chicane and I passed two or three of them and then chased down Josh and Scott. I got past Josh and felt like I was making good inroads on Scott but then Xavi came past me and we probably scrapped a little too much for two or three laps allowing Scott away. I thought I was OK for third, but made a mistake at McLeans and that enabled Tommy to get close enough to pass into the final chicane. I’m gutted to miss the podium, but I can’t complain with a fourth and good points for the championship.”
Race 2: 7th Race 3: DNF Championship: 10th
“It’s not been the easiest of weekends. We’ve been chasing something all weekend, made some changes for Saturday and improved the feeling but in the first two races I struggled at the start. For the third race we made some more changes but I was quite far back on the grid which made things difficult. The bike felt much better, I had a lot more confidence on the brakes and I felt like I could ride the bike how I wanted to again. I’m really happy with that and I’ll take that away from this race as obviously a crash isn’t ideal. It’s our third DNF of the year, which isn’t what we want. I want to go fast and be at the front, I don’t want to be messing around in seventh or eighth so we have to keep pushing and looking for the feeling we are after. Once we nail that on the head I’m confident we’ll be at the front.”
Race 2: DNF Race 3: DNF Championship: 25th
“It’s not been a good day for us. A big crash in warm-up meant the boys had to rebuild the bike pretty much from scratch in a few hours before the first race, unfortunately we were then hit with two technical problems in each race which were a result of that morning crash. I’m pretty annoyed as I felt good on the bike and was hoping for a good result, but we’ll regroup and try again at Brands.”
“It’s not been a bad weekend, but it’s not been the best weekend either. It’s quite simple, this championship is hard – perhaps harder than it’s ever been as we’ve got riders here from MotoGP and World Superbikes now and the bar is really high. Taz had great pace in each race, it was a shame to miss the podium twice today once because of rain and once on the last lap, but these things happen. Jason had really good pace in that final race, but starting tenth on the grid perhaps meant he had to push a little too hard to get to the front and unfortunately crashed out. We’ll look at a few things in our Knockhill test and re-group for Brands next month.”