MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion Dashi Watanabe of Aprilia Grandstar romped to his third straight triumph and firmed up his hold of solo leadership recently in the third leg of the 2014 Pirelli Superbikes Championship Series at the Clark International Speedway.
For the first time this season, Waranabe, 21, only started second behind his polesitting Aprilia teammate Marvin Mangulabnan who topped the time trials of this event which is part of the 2014 Motorsports Championship Season presented by Petronas and sanctioned by the Superbikes Racing Association (SBRA).
But more than showing his usual top form, Watanabe dominated the show with his quick thinking and strategy that moved him closer to a back-to-back crown halfway through the series.
Pirelli cooked up another very promising event – 2014 Pirelli Motorad Superbikes Cup – which serves as a junior league for promising future Superbikes riders and surprisingly lured a huge field of 34 hopefuls.
Clint James Nolasco, son of Superbikes Masters rider Charles Nolasco, proved he has the makings of a future Superbikes champion when he swept the Class A crown with Jevis Aguila and Jay Carrion claiming the runner-up and third place honors in both races.
Josh Shepley captured the Class B title in Race 1 over Richard Panlilio and Redge Burilla while Panlilio seized the Class B crown in Race 2 over Yong Montero and June Alcarioto.
Watanabe nearly got caught in the mad scramble for positions. With timely maneuver, he squeezed himself through on the inside lane to quickly seize the front lead, leaving other riders still struggling in the tight start of the Superbikes race.
Dashi then pulled ahead as he went full throttle after passing the first turn. By the end of the first lap, he was already ahead by 0.5 of a second.
Raniel Resuello of Team Ducati and Mangulabnan followed Dashi after the takeoff and stole the show with their hot duel that resulted in a contact.
The incident caused Mangulabnan to spin out although he managed to get back to the race. Resuello suffered bike problems that slowed him down and paved the way for another talented Aprilla recruit Anthony Roman to snatch second place on the fourth lap.
Jussi Hoikka of Ducati emerged the Superbikes Intermediate champion over Canare and Ducati teammate Vincent Mercado while Tracy Soyangco bagged the Superbikes Novice plum over Ducati’s TJ Alberto and Lawrence Macalinao.
Hoikka also captured the Open crown in the Group 1 race of the equally exciting 2014 Ducati Cup over Vince Mercado with John Defensor winning the Masters crown over Alvin Dee and Toti Alberto.
Jay Carrion copped the Intermediate title over Richard Panlilio while Lawrence Macalinao bagged the Novice plum over TJ Alberto and Daniel Savino.
Rep. Ronald Singson made it a double-title feat in the Ducati Cup Group 2 division winning the Celebrity class over Bullet Jalosjos and the Beginners division over Redge Burilla and Martin Rosario.