2-time Philippine Superbike champion TJ Alberto will be suiting up in different colors this weekend after he was called up to race by MTM Kawasaki on such short notice. Standing in for an injured Adrian Huertas, he will be making his FIM World Supersport Championship (WorldSSP) debut this weekend at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia.
TJ received a very interesting phone call only days ago from KTM Kawasaki Team Manager Rob Vennegoor, who also happens to run the outfit his younger brother Troy races with in WorldSSP300. Their regular rider was declared unfit with rib and back injuries due to a crash at Phillip Island and is forced to miss this race weekend. TJ just so happens to be the best candidate to fill in for Huertas and accepted the offer without skipping a beat.
Bearing his distinct 77 race number, TJ will be riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R during the second event of 2023. The lone Filipino on the grid is also swapping out his usual Ducati red colors for a bit of Kawasaki green.
This will mark TJ’s return to the WSBK after his STK1000 stint back in 2018. Aside from learning to ride an unfamiliar bike, he will also have to master a new circuit in just a matter of a few days.
Qualifying and Race 1 are scheduled on Saturday (March 4) followed by Race 2 on Sunday (March 5).
TJ Alberto, #77: “I’m looking forward to this opportunity to join MTM Kawasaki in Mandalika. It was quite a short notice and honestly I didn’t have the best preparation for this event, but I’m here to do my best. I am looking forward to learn from a great team and with the best riders in the world. I have big shoes to fill but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m sorry also for Adrian’s accident at Philip Island and I wish him a speedy recovery.”