Reigning British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie endured a difficult introduction to his Moto 2 career as he crashed out in the French GP at Le Mans.
The 21-year-old replaced former Moto 3 winner Danny Kent at Kiefer Racing after he walked away from the team following an extended run of poor results.
It’s been a tremendous rise for Mackenzie, who sealed the 2016 British Supersport crown in his rookie year in the class.
The Scot made the switch to ride the new Yamaha R6 this term and had begun in imperious form, topping the standings in all six sprint and feature races for the opening three rounds at Donington Park, Brands Hatch and Oulton Park.
And his exploits did not go unnoticed as he was given the nod to ride the Suter.
Mackenzie, son of three-time British Superbike Champion Niall, was thrown in at the deep end having never ridden the bike prior to the first practice session, but held his own for much of the weekend, qualifying 29th on the grid before an unfortunate crash with five laps remaining.
His departure is good news for Sorrymate.com’s Kurt Wigley, whose chances of improving on his 10th place finish in round three’s feature race will be boosted with Mackenzie no longer leading the pack.
The new Moto 2 rider will be bidding to stay upright at the start of June for the Italian GP at Mugello before a trip to Catalunya a week later, while back home Wigley and co are back in action midway through the month at Knockhill.
The motor-racing world has been rocked by the shocking news of former Moto GP champion Nicky Hayden’s tragic death.
The 35-year-old had been in intensive for five days after suffering “serious cerebral damage” following a collision with a car in Italy.
Hayden competed in 218 Moto GP races, recording three wins and 28 podiums, but he’ll be most remembered for securing the 2006 world title after a sensational battle with seven-time champion Valentino Rossi.
The ‘Kentucky Kid’ was a hot property as a 21-year-old entering Moto GP and was given one of the most sought after rides in the sport as Rossi’s teammate at Repsol Honda.
And he displayed his budding potential by finishing fifth in his first year in 2003, an achievement that won him Rookie of the Year.
It took until 2005 for his maiden race win in the class at his home circuit at Laguna Seca as Hayden fended off compatriot Colin Edwards to show signs of becoming a genuine title contender.
His time came a year later when Hayden spearheaded Repsol’s championship aspirations following Rossi’s switch to Yamaha.
The American gained a 51-point lead ahead of Rossi after wins at Assen and Laguna Seca, but Hayden went into the final round in Valencia eight points adrift following a tremendous comeback from ‘The Doctor’.
But Hayden wasn’t to be denied as he wrote himself in the record books by sealing the championship with a third place finish, profiting from Rossi’s early crash to clinch the crown by five points.
That was as good as it got, although Hayden had nine more competitive years in Moto GP with Repsol, Ducati and Aspar Honda.
He then made the switch to World Superbikes for the 2016 season and steered his Ten Kate Honda to a race victory in round six at Sepang.
And he was afforded a swansong at Phillip Island last October as a replacement for the injured Dani Pedrosa.
Despite only finishing 17th, Hayden’s legacy was already written with that resilient 2006 campaign in which he triumphed over Rossi in his prime.
Motor-racing has lost one of its greats, but Nicky Hayden’s memory will live on forever.