Tarran Mackenzie set for WorldSSP switch with MIE Honda

2021 British Superbike Champion Tarran Mackenzie will move to the WorldSBK paddock in 2023 with the MIE Honda team in the World Supersport class.

Tarran Mackenzie - McAMS Yamaha

Tarran Mackenzie will make the jump to World Championship racing in 2023 with the MIE Moriwaki Honda team, it has emerged.

The MIE MS Racing Honda team has listed Tarran Mackenzie as one of its riders for the 2023 WorldSSP campaign.

Mackenzie, the 2021 British Superbike Champion, was rumoured to be joining the team in the WorldSBK class before the team announced Eric Granado as a new signing to replace the out-going Leandro Mercado, while they will retain Hafizh Syahrin. 

After 2022 BSB Champion Bradley Ray was confirmed in the Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK team for next season in the Superbike class on a part-time programme, Mackenzie’s options became limited. The confirmation of Granado and Syahrin essentially closed the door on him for WorldSBK, but joining the MIE team keeps that door open for the future, of course. 

For the team itself, the signing of Mackenzie to its WorldSSP programme also announces its expansion into the middleweight category of the WorldSBK paddock having spent the last few seasons in the Superbike class only. Mackenzie’s teammate will be ex-Moto3 Grand Prix rider Adam Norrodin.

Mackenzie has some experience of racing in the WorldSBK paddock, having wildcarded at Donington earlier this year, collecting results of 14th and 15th in the two long races while he retired from the Superpole Race.

Mackenzie last raced a Supersport machine in 2017, when he began the season by defending with Yamaha the British title he won in 2016 with Kawasaki, before going off to race the Honda-powered 600cc Moto2 Suter chassis of the Kiefer Racing team where he scored only one point in 13 races, that coming in the rain at Motegi.

One curiosity about the move of Mackenzie, or more so really of Moriwaki, to run in WorldSSP is that they will use the CBR600RR. This is not really a surprise, but it is a bike that is not marketed in Europe, where most of the WorldSBK races are held, due to emissions regulations. The bike could of course be a placeholder for Honda before they release a new middleweight sports bike to take advantage of the Supersport ‘Next Generation’ regulations which allow larger-capacity twin-cylinder and three-cylinder bikes from such as Ducati, MV Agusta, and Triumph to compete against the more traditional 600cc four-cylinders from the likes of Yamaha - which has dominated the class since 2017 - and Kawasaki.

Of course, Honda debuted in 2022 its new 755cc platform with the XL750 Transalp and CB750 Hornet, which could theoretically be utilised for a Supersport effort.

The news initially appeared in a somewhat curious fashion. There has not yet been an official statement from either the MIE Honda team nor from Mackenzie himself, but Honda’s 2023 Motorsports Program Overview article published on 12 December 2022 had Mackenzie listed as an MIE MS Racing Honda rider for next season in WorldSSP. Only now on 14 December has a press release been issued by the MIE MS Racing team.

Tarran Mackenzie said: “I’m really excited to join the MIE MS Racing Honda Team and the WSSP Championship! It has been a big goal of mine to return to world championship level and I think that competing in the World Supersport class is the perfect way to learn and move forward. I just want to say a big thank you to Midori and the whole team for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to begin!”

Adam Norrodin said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to join the MIE MS Racing Honda Team and I would like to thank Midori Moriwaki very much for giving me the opportunity to race on the world stage. I fully intend to give it my all, as this is a great opportunity for my future. I can’t wait to join the team, to take part in our first tests and, of course, to start racing when the season kicks off in February.”

Midori Moriwaki (MIE Racing) said: “Just do it. This has been a motto of mine ever since I started my racing activities and this is why I’m very happy and proud to announce that MIE Racing will debut in the WSSP category in 2023 with two riders of the calibre of Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin, and with the Honda family of course, competing with CBR600RR machines. Forming a partnership with the MS Racing Team means that we can start racing already next season. I’m sure that our combined strength and expertise will be instrumental in what will be an ongoing project, which will include an initial phase of development work that only the challenges posed by high-level racing can help with. We warmly welcome Tarran and Adam to the MIE and Honda family and we look forward to getting started!”

Felix Garrido (MS Racing)

“We at MS Racing are super happy to be involved in this project together with Midori and Honda and want to thank them very much for choosing us. We are aware of the challenges involved when starting a project of this magnitude, but we are willing to give it everything and more in order for the project to be successful.  We are eager to start testing with the CBR600RR and the riders.”

The 2023 WorldSSP Championship will get underway, along with WorldSBK of course, at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia on 24-26 February. 

2023 Honda CB750 Hornet review | The icon returns with twin-cylinder power

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