The McAMS Yamaha team enjoyed a fruitful start to the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike season as testing got underway at Silverstone. Tarran Mackenzie dipped underneath the official lap record to take second on the overall timings while team-mate Jason O’Halloran showed impressive used-tyre pace to finish fifth overall.
Taking to the track on their YZF-R1 superbikes for the first time since Brands Hatch last October, both Mackenzie and O’Halloran had a detailed testing programme to pursue which involved starting with a package very similar to the one with which they finished the 2020 season with, before gradually trying components the squad are introducing for the 2021 season.
O’Halloran was quick from the off, topping all four of Wednesday’s sessions while Mackenzie suffered an array of misfortune from getting stuck on the motorway and missing the first session to a peculiar crash on the exit of pit lane.
Things went a lot better for the 25-year-old Scotsman on Thursday, who set a blistering time of 53’200 in the penultimate session to set the second quickest lap of the test. The time was under the circuit pole position record and only bettered by Glenn Irwin in the closing stages of the session by a mere 0.061 seconds.
Having enjoyed a more productive opening day than his team-mate, O’Halloran turned to longer distance runs on the final day to evaluate the team’s new components for 2021, which include a revised 2021 engine spec, new exhaust, revised geometry and new swing arm. In a 20-lap run in the penultimate session, O’Halloran set his quickest lap times of the test on both 19 and 20 – which launched him to the top of the timesheets at that stage. He’d later return to the track on the same rear tyre, bettering his lap time on the rear’s 31st lap to set a 53’350 – good enough to end the test fifth overall.
Both riders called it a day early in the final session with conditions proving tricky as not only was it trying to rain but the temperature had dropped too.
National Superstock 1000 rider Ian Hutchinson got into the groove quickly on his first day aboard the Edwards 1902 Yamaha YZF-R1. With the superstock class only testing on one of the two day’s at Silverstone, Hutchy made good use of his track time ending the test just 0.780 off the fastest Superstock time.
The team will be back in action in just a matter of days with the second pre-season test getting underway on Tuesday 4th May at Snetterton.