Ben Spies wasn't the only World Superbike rookie to make an impression on proceedings at Phillip Island as Tommy Hill marked his debut in the category with a pair of points finishes.
Hill, competing in his first race for well over a year after a 2008 season spent on the sidelines with an injury, recovered from a lowly 20th place starting position to tackle a number of factory riders in the fight for points.
Running as high as tenth after the first lap of the opening race, although Hill couldn't sustain that kind of pace to the finish, he was still capable of finishing 14th, ahead of Shinya Nakano and Ruben Xaus.
The Althea Honda rider was rightly thrilled with the performance, despite being one of a number of riders to complain about tyre wear.
“This was my first race back since 2007. I'm very happy with the start. In my first laps I felt very comfortable on the bike, I pushed very hard and I found a very fast pace. I was able to overtake some riders but from the middle of the race I had to reduce my rhythm because the tyres lost a lot of grip.
“I'm pretty happy for the fourteenth position reached and also for my first points in world Superbike. I want to thank all my team because my bike was really very fast.
Hill went on to repeat the result in the second race, even if again struggled with tyre problems.
“Race two was harder than the first one. It was difficult for me to find the right race pace also because my tyres did not work properly and every time I tried to push a little bit harder I lost the front and I risked a crash.
“After two-thirds of the race I was doing everything I could to reach Carlos Checa but it was really not possible, as when I pushed harder I made a couple of small mistakes.
“Anyway it was a consistent start of the season and I'm happy with my results today and with the help of my technicians, for sure we'll be more competitive in the next race at Qatar.”