Just ninth and 15th during October's Portimao WSBK races, BMW Motorrad's Leon Haslam heads for the winter break a happy man after being consistently fast in his final test of the year at the same Portuguese track.
Riding alongside rivals from Aprilia and Crescent Suzuki, Haslam was fastest on the first two days, before being bumped to joint third - level with fellow BMW riders Ayrton Badovini and Marco Melandri - in terms of race tyre laps on the final day.
The S1000RR riders were 0.4sec behind the pace-setting Aprilia of Eugene Laverty, whose team-mate Max Biaggi was second quickest.
“I am very happy,” said Haslam. “It was very good to come back to Portimão and set constantly quick lap times on this track, on which we were not so competitive last season.
“This shows that we have taken a really good step forward, particularly in regard to the engine characteristic and the electronics. We also found very good settings with the new chassis.
“The team will now use the coming two months to prepare everything for Australia. If we continue in this direction, everything is looking good for Phillip Island.
“I will now return to England and have an intensive fitness programme with my trainer lined up for December and January. And I am really excited about the birth of our first child very soon.”
BMW had an extensive list of developments to try at the test, including the new engine spec and some new swingarms - plus gearbox, electronic and braking developments. The team also worked on aerodynamics, weight distribution and ergonomics.
“We had ideal weather and test conditions at both the tests in Jerez and Portimão. As such, we were able to get through a comprehensive workload with our riders,” said BMW Motorrad Motorsport director Bernhard Gobmeier.