Access Plus Racing is still at the top of the Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK) standings despite mixed results over the weekend. Timothy Joseph “TJ” Alberto and Lawrence Macalinao both suffered minor setbacks, but delivered 3 podium finishes and a class victory from the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC).
TJ and Lawrence were aiming for a repeat of their season opener dominance last month. Results from Qualifying certainly gave them high hopes as the 2 riders set the fastest times in their respective categories.
Starting from pole, TJ was poised for an easy win on Sunday morning. He immediately opened up a gap as soon as the lights turned green, but would make an uncanny mistake heading into turn 1 and lost the front of his bike. Luckily his #77 Ducati Panigale V4 R only suffered minor damage and was able to rejoin to still salvage 3rd place in Race 1. In contrast, his teammate was having a field day in the Expert Class. Lawrence was unchallenged throughout the 11-lap race and enjoyed a dominant lights-to-flag victory to secure the class win with a significant 25.921 secs advantage.
Determined to make up for lost ground in the morning, TJ fought back hard in Race 2. Starting from P3 on the grid, he got the holeshot at the start and came out of the first corner in the lead. He then held position for the majority of the race until a technical problem slowed him down. There was little he can do and was easily passed by his rivals to cross the finish in a heartbreaking 3rd. His teammate Lawrence, on the other hand, faired a bit better. A slow getaway lost him several places, but responded with quick, consistent laps to reel in his rivals. He later regained a spot and take the chequered flag in a strong 2nd place to conclude a rollercoaster of a weekend.
With their string of podium finishes, both Access Plus Racing riders are able to hold onto to the points lead of their respective classes. TJ is now tied for 1st in the Pro Category, while Lawrence Macalinao holds an 8-point advantage over his nearest competitor in the Expert Class.
After back-to-back events at BRC, the 2023 Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK) now heads to the Clark International Speedway (CIS) for Round 3 on the 8th and 9th of July.
TJ Alberto, #77: “It wasn’t the weekend I expected it to be, but still good to come away with points. Both races could have easily been two DNFs but in the end we were able to make it to the finish in 3rd. Looking at the positives, our pace showed a lot of promise as we topped the time sheets in Practice and Qualifying. But luck wasn’t on our side today.”
Lawrence Macalinao, #26: “Overall a positive weekend. Thanks to Access Plus Racing and engineers who helped provide me with a very good bike. To come home with a win and a 2nd place finish helps us in the championship and extend our points lead. Also happy that my lap times have also improved, which gives me confidence going into Round 3 at Clark”
Toti Alberto, Team Principal: “We definitely missed a few opportunities here are BRC, but overall I’m happy with the performance of the entire team. Everyone at Access Plus Racing worked hard to make sure both TJ and Lawrence had the best bikes on track with the pace to compete at the front. We were just a bit unlucky with TJ, but still good results from Lawrence. The season is still long and we now focus on Round 3 in Clark.”
Access Plus Racing is sponsored by Ducati Philippines, Angkas, Shell Advance Motorcycle Oils, ArmyNavy Burger + Burrito, Frontrow, Makati Diamond Residences, Katinko Oil and Ointment, Macbeth, Aella, LV8 Elevate, Extreme Components, STM, and Öhlins Racing.