The only Philippine team to enter ASB1000 demonstrated how far they've come since the season opener in Malaysia. Access Plus Racing-Ducati Philippines-Essenza was in exceptionally good form during Round 3 of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) held at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand last May 31 to June 2. Timothy Joseph “TJ” Alberto and Jonathan Serrapica managed to close the gap to the leaders with their Panigale V4Rs and score solid top 10 positions in Asia Superbike (ASB) 1000.
Lessons learned over the 2019 season allowed them to slash seconds off their times. Alberto set a 1:37.793 lap in Qualifying to put him on P10 on the grid. Serrapica, on the other hand, would start from P12 just behind his teammate.
Race 1 got underway under dark skies with a light drizzle falling on parts of the 4.554 km circuit. It was of little concern to Alberto who enjoyed a clean start and held onto P10. Three laps in, an opportunity opened up which moved the Filipino rider into P9. He then nursed a slight vibration issue on his #77 machine to take the chequered flag in a strong 9th. His teammate Serrapica also did well to maintain position throughout the 13-lap race and bring home a point-scoring 12th place.
“This was the best weekend for us so far this season,” said TJ Alberto. “We are new to the championship and we've been able to slash two seconds from our gap to the front runners. That's a huge improvement and we will continue to work hard to be ready for the next race at Suzuka, Japan. I can’t wait to take on one of the most legendary tracks on the ARRC calendar.” he added.
Both riders carried their momentum into Race 2 on Sunday. With clear weather, Alberto and Serrapica challenged for position in the opening laps Serrapica, the Italian-Swiss rider, momentarily moved up to P11 just behind his teammate. The field eventually spread out as the race progressed as Alberto still pushed hard to bring his lap times down. He crossed the finish line to earn the team 10th place while setting his second quickest lap of the weekend. Meanwhile, a flawless ride from Serrapica would see him take another remarkable 12th place.
Team Access Plus Racing-Ducati Philippines-Essenza is sponsored by Access Plus Group, Ducati Philippines, Essenza, AELLA, Dickies Philippines, Öhlins Philippines, Century Hotel Angeles City, LV8, and Pradera Verde.