Tarran Mackenzie to miss British Superbike opener, WorldSBK wildcard postponed | British Superbikes

The British Superbike champion has also had his expected WorldSBK debut in Assen later this month postponed. 

Mackenzie, who was still recovering from an off-season accident in Cartagena, suffered a fractured left ankle injury during a day-one crash at the Silverstone test earlier this month. 

“I’m obviously disappointed to be missing the opening round this weekend, especially after feeling so good on the bike at Snetterton, but it is what it is,” said Mackenzie.

“The operation on my ankle went well and I’m now focusing on my recovery, working with my physio and aiming to be back as soon as we can to get our season on track. I’d like to wish the whole team the best of luck this weekend as the season gets started.”

While Mackenzie won the title having missed five races in 2021, starting off his season on the sideline will without doubt make retaining his crown more difficult.

With last year’s title contenders Tommy Bridewell, Christian Iddon and team-mate Jason O’Halloran all returning, plus the addition of 2013 WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes alongside Josh Brookes at Ducati, and Leon Haslam, the 2018 British Superbike champion both returning, 2022 could be the most competitive season in BSB history, thus missing races could prove pivotal. 

While missing the BSB opener is sure to be a disappointment for Mackenzie, missing out on his scheduled WorldSBK debut (April 22-24) is likely to be even more frustrating. 

Aiming to become a full-time WorldSBK rider in 2023, Mackenzie will be taking part in three wildcards this season, the first of which will most likely take place at Donington Park. 

Team Owner at McAMS Yamaha, Steve Rodgers said: “Of course, this isn’t the start of the season we wanted for Tarran as he looks to defend the title, but this is motorcycle racing and it’s never quite that straightforward! 

“He will now focus on recovering so he can get his season started as soon as he is fit and able to do so.”

Favourites for this weekend? 

Based on testing, several riders could make a claim for being a possible favourite, however, one rider that has looked particularly strong is O’Halloran. 

The Australian, who should have won the title in 2021, has seemingly put the disappointment of last year behind him. 

A new lap record was set by O’Halloran at Snetterton to end that test quickest, before another solid showing took place at Silverstone.

Speaking after the final pre-season test, O’Halloran said: “Considering everything, I am pretty happy with the last couple of days. I don’t think we got a clear session apart from the first one so it’s been a tricky test with not a lot of track time, but we managed to get through quite a bit and I’ve learned a lot about the bike over the tests we’ve had. 

“Conditions were awful, especially today, with very strong winds so I took it a little bit easy. I think we’re in a strong position for next week and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Other names to watch will be the above-mentioned Sykes and Haslam, two riders who have enjoyed great success in both British and World championship racing. 

Looking to bounce back following a down year in 2021, Brookes could also find his way back into the title picture. Following the team’s switch from BMW to Yamaha machinery, Bradley Ray has looked like an early season contender too. 

The 2022 season opener gets underway on Friday with FP1 and FP2, before qualifying and three races spread across Saturday and Sunday.

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