After months of waiting, the 2010 World Superbike Championship kicked off with a bang at Phillip Island as two exciting races yielded two fairly surprising winners in the shape of Leon Haslam and Carlos Checa.

While neither rider is a stranger to riding towards the front, both Haslam and Checa were still triumphant on their debuts with the respective Suzuki Alstare and Althea Ducati teams.

Haslam came away from the opener in Australia as the big winner though, the Briton breaking his victory duck in race one before coming agonisingly close to doubling up in the second. Nonetheless, a points' haul of 45 points sees him establish an early nine point lead heading to Portimao's in a month's time.

While he was never more than half a second from victory in either race, Michel Fabrizio had to be content with two podiums, although second and third does signify his best start to a World Superbike season yet.

It also gives him the early edge over team-mate Noriyuki Haga, who in turn will be slightly bemused to see privateer counterpart Checa also ahead him third position following his run to victory in race two.

Still, Checa's performance does ensure Ducati remain on top of the manufacturer standings, albeit equal with Suzuki on 45 points.

Elsewhere, Troy Corser got BMW's season off to a solid start as he holds down eighth overall, ahead of Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland on the Yamaha, both riders crashing out of race one before fading in the second.

In all, 18 of the 22 riders that started got onto the score sheet, including World Superbike debutants Reitwagen BMW and Echo CRS Honda, who scored two points apiece with Andrew Pitt and Joshua Brookes.

2010 World Superbike Championship rider standings

1. Leon Haslam Suzuki Alstare 45 points
2. Michel Fabrizio Ducati Xerox 36
3. Carlos Checa Althea Ducati 34
4. Noriyuki Haga Ducati Xerox 27
5. Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki Alstare 23
6. Jonathan Rea Ten Kate Honda 23
7. Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia19
8. Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 16
9. Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia 10
10. Lorenzo Lanzi DFX Ducati 9
11. Jakub Smrz PATA B&G Ducati 8
12. Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Sterilgarda 7
13. James Toseland Yamaha Sterilgarda 6
14. Shane Byrne Althea Ducati 6
15. Max Neukirchner Ten Kate Honda 4
16. Tom Sykes Kawasaki SRT 3
17. Andrew Pitt Reitwagen BMW 2
18. Joshua Brookes Echo CRS Honda 2

2010 World Superbike Championship manufacturer standings
1. Ducati 45 points
2. Suzuki 45
3. Honda 23
4. Aprilia 19
5. BMW 16
6. Yamaha 7
7. Kawasaki 3