While the new Portimao circuit has come in for substantial praise from most riders, some concerns have been raised about its condition in the wet following a weekend beset by poor weather.
With World Superbikes becoming the first event to be held around a circuit that was still having the finishing touches put to it a couple of weeks ago, the newly-laid tarmac is making things particularly treacherous for riders in the wet. Indeed, wet lap times are almost 20secs down on those in the dry.
Furthermore, there was evidence that, particularly in Superpole, the many undulations of the circuit, one which gives Portimao its unique identity, are conspiring to create rivers across the track where it troughs. It was also seen to be dragging mud across the circuit too.
It was enough for a handful of the riders, who were full of compliments on the circuit's layout yesterday, to be less enamoured with its wet weather challenge.
“I do not like this track in the wet and I found it very slippery,” said Fonsi Nieto. “I had a small crash in the rain, but I wasn't hurt at all. I could not get a good feeling with my bike in these conditions at all, so I am hoping that tomorrow will be dry.”
“Because this track is so new, there is not enough rubber down to give good grip and as soon as you go off-line you can get into trouble,” added his Suzuki team-mate Max Neukirchner. “We learned more about the feeling of the bike in the wet this afternoon, but even so I am hoping that tomorrow will be dry and we can have some good races.”
Troy Corser, meanwhile, points out that the brand new tarmac is very dark, which therefore makes it difficult to establish exactly where the puddles are forming.
“It was very wet in Superpole and parts of the track had water cascades and there were also areas of standing water. The track is very dark and so it's not easy to see how much water is where and that made it very difficult.
“Also, the rain doesn't seem to disperse very quickly and reminds me of Lausitzring. The forecast for [the races] is dry conditions and I think everybody is hoping that will be right and we can have two good races. I hope so, for myself, for all the riders and for the fans.”
Further wet weather has greeted the riders in morning warm-up, although the forecast for the races looks more promising.