Reports of testing are starting to sound increasingly like a broken record, with weather being a constant factor preventing the teams from testing properly. The second day of testing for a small group of World Superbike riders at Portimao turned into another washout, with heavy rain and cold temperatures wracking the Portuguese coast.
Despite that, the teams present went out and tested anyway, focusing instead on setup and working on known issues. At the end of the day, it was Ruben Xaus who got his name atop the timesheets on his very first outing on the Ten Kate Honda, finishing three tenths of a second ahead of BMW new boy Leon Haslam, and over a second ahead of his Ten Kate teammate Johnny Rea. Alstare Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio matched the pace of Rea, who was a couple of tenths quicker than BMW's Troy Corser. Two former factory riders on new machines - James Toseland on a BMW and Noriyuki Haga on an Aprilia - propped up the bottom of the timesheets, though the conditions leave the times being set devoid of meaning.
There was plenty to test, however, and Troy Corser even pointed out that testing in the wet can be extremely useful at isolating issues. Corser explained in the BMW press release: "Riding in the rain also helped us to tackle some of the problems we have in the dry. It is actually easier to get a feeling for the problems and to see them on the telemetry, because everything happens a bit slower, so the actual problem is a lot clearer."
At least the conditions allowed the WSBK riders to get some track time. Conditions at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona were such that the Moto2 riders who had gathered there barely bothered putting in any laps at all. The weather was only a few degrees above freezing all day, and most riders didn't believe it was worth the risk, Marc Marquez being one rider who left the track without having turned a wheel. The wisdom of that approach was demonstrated by Bradley Smith, who managed to write off one of the 2010 Tech 3 Moto2 machines in a big crash during the day, though Smith professed afterwards he was unhurt.
The Moto2 teams now pack up and head off for a vacation, as MotoGP's testing ban commences on December 1st over the holiday period, with testing ready to start again in February. The focus of the teams now shifts to the workshop, where the data gathered will go into preparing for when testing resumes again.
Unofficial times from the World Superbike test at Portimao, courtesy of the World Superbike website: