Timothy Joseph “TJ” C. Alberto and Jonathan Serrapica were back on the saddle of Access Plus Racing-Ducati Philippines-Essenza's Panigale V4Rs for Round 2 of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC). Both riders finished strong at The Bend Motorsport Park in Australia where they landed valuable point-scoring positions in ASB1000.
Lessons learned from the curtain raiser at Sepang allowed the Philippines-based team to make adjustments to the pair of flagship Ducati superbikes. Despite running on a new and unfamiliar circuit, their hard work resulted in Alberto securing P10 during Qualifying, and Serrapica finishing the session in P14.
Sunny skies greeted Race 1 on Saturday that started just after 12 noon. Both riders got off to a clean start as they made their way through a chaotic first corner. Amidst the tussle, Alberto fell back to P11 but regained the positions lost as he hustled his way through the field and made it as high as P9. The mid-race charge, however, took its toll on his tires that forced him to slow down and miss a possible top 10 finish in 11th, while Serrapica followed behind in 14th.
Good track conditions continued into the following day for Race 2. This gave the team high hopes for both riders as they could maximize the Panigale V4R's performance in the cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, Alberto's race ended prematurely on the first corner when another rider crashed right in front of him. Serrapica then had to take Access Plus Racing-Ducati Philippines-Essenza to the chequered flag all by himself in 14th place to wrap up their race weekend.
With the points both riders collected in Australia, TJ Alberto is now 10th overall in the championship, while Jonathan Serrapica holds the 13th spot. The ARRC heads to Thailand for Round 3 on May 31-June 2 at the Chang International Circuit.
TJ Alberto, #77 Ducati: “It’s my first outing here at The Bend and I certainly enjoyed the layout. With some new adjustments, we made big strides compared to Sepang. We are now able to race closely with the other riders and fight for position. The team just needs to work on small things such as managing rear tire wear as it definitely affected my first race. The crash on Sunday is unfortunate, but we are definitely looking forward to reaping the benefits of our leanings in Thailand.”
Jonathan Serrapica, #48 Ducati: “I really liked the track, as with many first time racers here during the race weekend. We worked on a lot of stuff for this race, but I wasn’t able to capitalize on these improvements. I’m glad I put more time on the saddle and took home the bike and a few points. I look forward to pushing harder next round.”
Toti Alberto, Team Principal: “It feels good that our preparations after Sepang paid off and allowed us to be more competitive in Australia. We've closed the gap to the frontrunners, giving us a better chance to fight for points. It’s just unfortunate what happened to TJ in the second race where he was taken out after a rider crashed in front of him, but the feedback and improvements we got will help us for the rest of the season. Thailand will hopefully see us in our best form yet.”
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.