Michel Fabrizio feels he is well placed to challenge for victory during the World Superbike season opener in Australia, even if he expects to be made to fight hard for the win.

The Italian will start the first round at Phillip Island from second position on the grid, the Ducati rider missing out on pole position to Leon Haslam by less than two hundredths of a second.

Despite this, Fabrizio was pleased to be the only 2009 race winner to qualify on the front row and is now turning his attentions to launching his 2010 title offensive in style.

"Today's Superpole was very difficult but I am very happy with the final result," he said. "I lost out on the pole by just a fraction of a second which is a shame, but it's not the first time that that has happened and the important thing is that I'm on the front row tomorrow. I was happy with my flying lap, a clean lap, with no-one in front of me.

Even so, Fabrizio identifies a number of riders he thinks will be capable of denying him, including his team-mate Noriyuki Haga, who starts tenth.

"Tomorrow will be an equally difficult challenge, and various riders, me, Haslam, Checa, Biaggi and Nori will surely be in contention. We know we have a good race pace and I'm feeling confident for the races."

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