Mackenzie and O'Halloran on the pace for McAMS Yamaha at Silverstone

Mackenzie and O'Halloran on the pace for McAMS Yamaha at Silverstone

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.

Tarran Mackenzie

2nd - 53'200

“The first day of the test was a bit of a nightmare for a few reasons out of our control, but things went a lot better on Thursday! It was nice to have a full day of trying things and getting a better feeling for the bike. The setting is very similar to what we ran last year so it’s just a case of fine tuning that. I had a good first session and then built on from that. We called it a day in the last session as it was a bit too cold and we’d done everything we needed to do. We are going to Snetterton with a good feeling on the bike and feeling confident, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Jason O'Halloran

5th - 53'350

“The first day couldn’t have gone any better for us. We focused on trying the new engine on day one and turned our focus to the chassis on the second day. I was a bit nervous about changing the chassis as we didn’t change a lot last year, I’d ridden the same bike all year and we had a good year so it took me a bit of time to adjust to it. Once I started to use the benefits of the new settings, it started to come to me and I started to feel really good. We just worked through our programme, got through everything we needed to get through. In the third session I did a long run and set my best lap on the last lap of the run. We came in, made a few changes and went back out and bettered that time again and by that point the tyre had done 31 laps. To be doing 53’3 with 31 laps on a tyre is exactly where we need to be for race day here. The final session was just a bit too sketchy for me, as nice as it would have been to have stuck some fresh rubber in and gone for a time!”

Ian Hutchinson

Edwards 1902 Yamaha - 15th 55'878

“I’m pretty happy with how the test went, all things considered. I haven’t ridden a bike in six months and I only sat on the R1 for the first time the other day! To say the bike hadn’t turned a wheel before we came here, to be 0.7 off is a good start, I honestly expected to be a bit further away. The key to us moving forward is going to be getting as much track time as we can, the potential with the R1 is definitely there – it’s a lovely bike to ride and I don’t see any reason why it can’t be competitive in this class”

Steve Rodgers

Team Principal

“That was a really productive two days on track. Both Taz and Jason worked pretty tirelessly to get through what they needed to get through. The boys have done a lot of work through the winter to try and improve our package and the initial feedback from both riders is we have done just that. Obviously Silverstone has always been a good circuit for us, but we were able to improve the feeling for both riders here compared to when we were here last year. Taz’s time was absolutely brilliant and Jason’s used tyre pace was really promising – to be on lap record pace with 31 laps on a rear tyre around here is seriously impressive. You know it’s been a good test when neither rider is particularly bothered about sticking a soft tyre in at the end and going for a lap time!”

  • Jason O'Halloran
  • Ian Hutchinson

2021 British Superbike Silverstone Test Results

Pos Rider Time Bike
1 Glenn Irwin 53.139 Honda
2 Tarran Mackenzie 53.200 Yamaha
3 Danny Kent 53.313 Suzuki
4 Kyle Ryde 53.323 BMW
5 Jason O'Halloran 53.350 Yamaha
6 Gino Rea 53.435 Suzuki
7 Danny Buchan 53.478 BMW
8 Andrew Irwin 53.482 BMW
9 Christian Iddon 53.485 Ducati
10 Ryan Vickers 53.553 Kawasaki

Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings

Pos Rider Team Bike PTS
1 Josh Brookes VisionTrack Ducati Ducati 288
2 Jason O'Halloran McAMS Yamaha Yamaha 267
3 Christian Iddon VisionTrack Ducati Ducati 258
4 Glenn Irwin Honda Racing Honda 226
5 Tarran Mackenzie McAMS Yamaha Yamaha 215
6 Andrew Irwin SYNETIQ BMW MOTORRAD BMW 172
7 Tommy Bridewell Oxford Products Ducati 168
8 Lee Jackson FS-3 Racing Kawasaki Kawasaki 157
9 Kyle Ryde RICH Energy OMG Racing BMW 137
10 Danny Buchan SYNETIQ BMW MOTORRAD BMW 131

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