October 06, 2022 By Steven Edward Yu

Mixed Results for Access Plus Racing in PSBK Penultimate Round at BRC

Both Access Plus Racing riders would have each come home with a dominant class win during the fifth round of the Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK). But Timothy Joseph “TJ” Alberto and Lawrence Macalinao suffered similar misfortunes at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) that put a dent on their 2022 title chase.

With 1.5x points up for grabs in the final two rounds of the year, the team knew that they needed to deliver consistently strong results to secure the championship. They invested heavily on testing and spent days on the 3.5-km track ahead of the race weekend to get as much performance as they could from their red-and-white Ducati Panigale V4Rs. Their efforts were rewarded with track position during Qualifying. Alberto set a 1:33.889 lap, which was a new personal best, and only missed out on pole by 0.052 secs. Macalinao, on the other hand, was over a second faster than the rest of the Intermediate Class riders to put him P4 on the grid.

Lawrence Macalinao leans his Ducati V4R #26 deep into a corner at the Batangas Racing Circuit

Alberto began his title defense on Sunday morning with a clean launch and had the leader in his sights. But as he started to lean his bike and aimed for the first corner, another rider uncharacteristically missed the braking point, overshot the turn, and slammed hard into Alberto. The Access Plus Racing rider luckily escaped with only a sore wrist, while his #77 Ducati Panigale V4R and championship hopes were in pieces.

This left Macalinao to race the team’s colors where he put on a solid performance to claim a dominant class victory. Not only did he and his #26 machine cross the finish line 10.517 secs ahead of the next Intermediate Class rider, but he would also achieve his very first overall class podium with Access Plus Racing.

After the earlier DNF and his Ducati now repaired, Alberto had to start from the back and defend his championship from P12. His closest rival Marvin Mangulabnan was on the opposite side from the grid which he had to chase to keep his title hopes alive. The Access Plus Racing rider rocketed off the line and was amazingly up to P2 by just the second corner. He then had to close the gap from Mangulabnan, who had already opened up a sizable lead. Alberto rode consistent quick laps to take the lead just two laps from the end. While it would have been a dream to have both Ducati riders win in their respective classes, Macalinao sadly never saw the chequered flag. He was far ahead in the Intermediate Class and was en route towards another win, but lost control of his Ducati over a bumpy section of the track.

From leading the championship, Access Plus Racing is now chasing points in the season ender of the Philippine Superbike Championship, scheduled to take place on the 12th and 13th of November.

TJ Alberto (left photo); Lawrence Macalinao and crew (right photo)

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