Access Plus Racing title defense take a hit after PSBK circus at BRC


With 1.5x points up for grabs, Access Plus Racing knew that they needed to deliver consistent strong results at the Philippine Superbike Championship’s penultimate event to keep their championship hopes alive. But while Timothy Joseph “TJ” Alberto and Lawrence Macalinao would come home with a dominant class win a piece, both also suffered similar misfortunes at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC).

The team tested extensively on the 3.500 km track ahead of the race weekend to get as much performance out of their red-and-white Ducati Panigale V4Rs. Their efforts were rewarded with track position during Qualifying with TJ setting a 1:33.889 lap, missing out on pole by only 0.052 secs. Lawrence, on the other hand, was over a second faster than the rest of the Intermediate Class riders to put him P4 on the grid.

TJ began his title defense on Sunday morning with a clean launch off the launch. However, as he started to lean his bike and aimed for the first corner, another rider uncharacteristically overshot the turn and slammed hard into TJ. Luckily he escaped with only a sore wrist, while his Ducati Panigale V4R and championship hopes were in pieces. Now racing the team’s colors all by himself, Lawrence delivered a solid performance and ensured that Access Plus Racing does not come out empty handed. Not only did he cross the finish line with a 10.517 secs lead to win in the Intermediate Class, but also achieved his very first overall class podium.

After his earlier DNF, TJ resumed his tile chase from P12 on the grid while his closest rival Marvin Mangulabnan was starting from pole. The Access Plus Racing rider rocketed off the line and was up to P2 by the second corner. He then proceeded to chase after Mangulabnan and his championship hopes. TJ had to ride successively quick laps to catch up and took the lead 2 laps from the end. It would have been a dream to have both Ducati riders win in their respective classes, but Lawrence sadly never saw the chequered flag. He was far ahead in the Intermediate Class en route towards another win, but lost control over a bumpy section of the track.

From leading the championship, Access Plus Racing is now playing catchup after their two DNFs as the Philippine Superbike Championship heads to the season finale at the Clark International Speedway (CIS) in November.

TJ Alberto, #77: “The weekend was quite different than what the team and I expected. We had full confidence that we’d be competitive based on our pace in testing. But the first race was over even before I reached turn one. It was very disappointing that we worked so hard all season to maintain our lead in the championship to be taken away in an instant. Despite injuring my hand I pushed hard to win and keep our championship hopes alive. Our focus now is on the finale in Clark and we’ll keep pushing.”

Lawrence Macalinao, #26: “We did a great job in the morning where we were able to finish 1st in the Intermediate Class and finish 2nd overall after the incident with the front runners. We’ve been running consistent lap time all weekend and I’m very happy with that. It was just unfortunate that I crashed out in Race 2 while in the class lead after losing the bike on a bumpy portion of the track. It was not the perfect weekend, but I’m just relieved that TJ is ok. Only one round to go and we need to finish well in both race to keep our title chase alive.”

Toti Alberto, Team Principal: “Coming into the weekend, the team was quite confident as we had positive results from testing a few days prior. Both TJ and Lawrence were able to set good lap times in BRC and we knew we could do well on Sunday. It’s just very disappointing that our hard work was undone on the very first corner of the very first lap when TJ was hit from behind. Still, we’re thankful to God that TJ was ok and was able to race in the afternoon where he made a remarkable comeback from 12th on the grid to win. Also proud of Lawrence on how much he as improved. He added to our tally of wins and finished 2nd overall as an Intermediate Class rider.”

Access Plus Racing is sponsored by Ducati Philippines, Angkas, Essenza, Frontrow, Katinko, Makati Diamond Residences, Italtrans, Aella, Apex, Extreme Components, Lv8, Macbeth, Ohlins, and STM, with Motoworld and Teagumps.