Can Watanabe and Mangulabnan stop Alberto from making history?
Date posted on December 9, 2021
TJ Alberto is currently leading the chase for the 2021 Pirelli Philippine Superbike National Championships (PSBK) coming into the third and last quadrouple header of races this weekend Dec 11-12 at Clark International Speedway. The Petron MORAC weekend is organized by BRCA and sanctioned by SBRA and FETAP.
TJ Alberto (Okada Manila – Access Plus) has so far won 7 out of 8 races on his Ducati Panigale V4R, having chosen to compete in the Philippine Nationals when the ARRC Calendar was postponed and eventually cancelled. His speed and his team’s experience in Asia was evident as they are dominating the championship so far, winning 7 out of 8 races run.
Defending and multi-time PSBK champion Marvin Mangulabnan ( Motul Alpinestars MM189) took the other win on his BMW S1000RR after a fantastic last lap pass on Alberto in June. He suffered a DNF in one race and lies 3rd in the standings.
Meanwhile, FGM Kawasaki’s Dashi Watanabe on his old ZX-10R has been racking up podium finishes consistently. The WRD head coach returned to the premier class after a few years of ” retirement” and disregarded his old machine’s disadvantages over the competition and instead focused on his riding as his FGM team tried their best to squeeze every ounce of performance out of the old bike. Many wonder what results he may have achieved had he been given a new up to date ZX-10R for the season.
Alberto comfortably sits on top of the standings with 197 points, 27 points ahead of Watanabe who has scored 170 points so far. Mangulabnan lies in third with 148 pts due to the DNF earlier in the season. But with still four races to go and with a points multiplier of 1.5 , anything can still happen this weekend.
If ever Alberto does seal his first PSBK crown he would follow in the footsteps of his father Toti Alberto, who won the title more than 20 years ago in 1999. They will become the first Filipino father and son tandem to win a premier national roadracing championship. They would also emulate the likes of Kenny Roberts Sr. and Jr. as well as Wayne and Remy Gardner as father and son champions.
But Alberto will have a tough job ahead as he will need to do beat two of the best multi- time PSBK Champions in Watanabe and Mangulabnan.
Whoever takes the crown, it will be a big win for PSBK and the local Philippine motorcycle racing community, as the sport managed to make a strong comeback from the pandemic.
Standings with 4 races to go: Pirelli Superbike Rider of the Year 1. TJ Alberto 197 2. Dashi Watanabe 170 3. Marvin Mangulabnan 148
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