For the first time in this year’s Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK), Access Plus Racing is coming into a race weekend behind in the points. And it happens to be the most crucial of them all as Timothy Joseph “TJ” Alberto and Lawrence Macalinao will have to be in full attack mode in order to secure the Overall and Intermediate Class titles during the final round of 2022.
TJ has won 7 out of the 10 races so far this season, demonstrating the dominance of the Ducati Panigale V4R on track. However, while he has not finished any lower than 2nd in the races that he had completed, a single DNF has put a serious dent on this hopes to win the PSBK championship back-to-back. His 19 point advantage turned into a 14 point deficit in a split second when another rider uncharacteristically crashed into TJ’s #77 machine, taking both of them out in Round 5.
With 1.5x points up for grabs at the season finale, mathematically speaking TJ needs to finish 1st in both races while his closest rival and current points leader Marvin Mangulabnan will have to finish 3rd or lower for the Ducati rider to win the championship.
Much like his teammate, a DNF has also put Lawrence Macalinao on the backfoot in run towards the Intermediate Class championship. The Access Plus Racing new recruit has proven time and time again to be nearly as fast as the Expert Class riders and would score dominant wins whenever possible. But mechanical issues and rider error spoiled what could have been an easy class title win and is now 29.5 points behind in the class standings.
Access Plus Racing came from a productive test last week and is heading to the Clark International Speedway (CIS) fully prepared and with full confidence to fight for the championship. Round 6 of the Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK) takes place this weekend with Qualifying scheduled on November 12 (Saturday) followed by Race 1 and 2 on November 13 (Sunday).
TJ Alberto, #77: “The team has worked so hard all season to stay ahead in the championship, but a 19 point advantage suddenly became a 14 point deficit after our DNF in the previous round. While it was a shame to lose the lead in that way, we come to the season finale in full spirits. Our goal to finish 1st in both races to give us the best possible chance at the title. We had a good test last week and we come well prepared. I’d love to be able to defend my PSBK title if it’s in God’s plan, so we just have to do our best and see what happens. All I have to do is to ride as fast as I can.”
Lawrence Macalinao, #26: “Coming into the season finale with a 29.5 point deficit, chances on taking the Intermediate Class championship is very slim. However, our mindset stays the same, which is to finish both races with the best possible result, end the season on a high, and get valuable data on the bike. I would like to thank everyone at Access Plus Racing for giving me this opportunity to race with such a great team and I’d like to show my gratitude by giving my best performance this weekend.”
Toti Alberto, Team Principal: “Even if we’re heading into the season finale with a points deficit, I’m still very proud of TJ, Lawrence, and everyone at Access Plus Racing. We have given our best every time we’re out on track and showed that we’re world-class team. We’ve learned so much and enjoyed every minute of it. Obviously we have a big job to do this weekend, but we will treat it exactly the same way as we’ve done all the other rounds in the past and that is to give our 100% for God.”
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.