While he may have not been a stand-out contender for the 2010 World Superbike Championship title pre-season, Leon Haslam is certainly doing a good impression of being a challenger for this year's crown after the opening four races.

While it remains far too early to predict how the season with ultimately transpire, Haslam's one win and three second places has already given him a striking advantage in the overall standings over many of his rivals, most notably pre-season favourites Michel Fabrizio, Noriyuki Haga and Jonathan Rea, each of which have fallen 39, 42 and 46 points adrift already.

Still, at least one rider tipped for the title came good in Portugal, with Max Biaggi's double victory helping him scythe his way up to second position to be a far more manageable 16 points behind. Two wins around a circuit that didn't turn out as one of Aprilia's strongest venues last season, Biaggi gave more than a hint as to his credentials at Portimao.

In third, Carlos Checa not only continues to earmark himself as an outside threat, but also move ahead of the factory Ducati riders, Fabrizio and Haga looking somewhat bemused in fourth and fifth now.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Rea had the opportunity to go higher had he not been forced to retire from the second race, the Northern Irishman lifting himself ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, who seemingly hasn't quite got the hang of Superbike starts yet.

Two strong fifth place finishes have also moved Leon Camier up into an impressive eighth overall, just one point behind his fellow WSBK rookie, while Cal Crutchlow's podium helped Yamaha breach the top ten, the Portimao pole sitter tied on points with team-mate James Toseland and Shane Byrne.

Having left Phillip Island on level-pegging, Suzuki have inched ahead of Ducati in the manufacturers' standings, with Aprilia moving up to third ahead of Honda and Yamaha progressing to fifth.

2010 World Superbike Championship rider standings (Previous round standings position in brackets)

1. (1) Leon Haslam Suzuki Alstare 85 points 2. (7) Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia 69 3. (3) Carlos Checa Althea Ducati 60 4. (2) Michel Fabrizio Ducati Xerox 46 5. (4) Noriyuki Haga Ducati Xerox 43 6. (6) Jonathan Rea Ten Kate Honda 39 7. (5) Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki Alstare 33 8. (9) Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia 32 9. (8) Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 29 10. (12) Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Sterilgarda 25 11. (13) James Toseland Yamaha Sterilgarda 25 12. (14) Shane Byrne Althea Ducati 25 13. (10) Lorenzo Lanzi DFX Ducati 15 14. (-) Ruben Xaus BMW Motorrad 10 15. (11) Jakub Smrz PATA B&G Ducati 8 16. (16) Tom Sykes Kawasaki SRT 7 17. (15) Max Neukirchner Ten Kate Honda 5 18. (17) Andrew Pitt Reitwagen BMW 2 19. (18) Joshua Brookes Echo CRS Honda 2

2010 World Superbike Championship manufacturer standings (Previous round standings position in brackets)

1. (2) Suzuki 85 points 2. (1) Ducati 71 3. (4) Aprilia 69 4. (3) Honda 40 5. (6) Yamaha 32 6. (5) BMW 29 7. (7) Kawasaki 7


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