The 2012 World Superbike Championship kicked off with two suitably exciting races at Phillip Island, though it was Max Biaggi who came away from Australia with the initiative after a win in race one and a sparkling fight back to second position in race two.

A convincing start to the year for the Aprilia rider, who had allowed the likes of Carlos Checa and Tom Sykes to steal a march on him during pre-season testing and practice, Biaggi showed his hand once the lights went out with two very impressive - albeit different - performances.

Leading from the front in race one after Checa crashed out, Biaggi may have been punished for his own error at the start of race two, but it only served to magnify his outstanding comeback from 24th up to second place at the chequered flag.

As such, Biaggi rightly heads up the early standings, an already solid 15 points clear of Marco Melandri, who was another to make big gains with a run to second place from 13th on the grid.

Tom Sykes is third, which is the highest a Kawasaki has appeared in the WSBK standings for some time, ahead of Checa, who at least made amends with victory in race two to ease himself off the initial back foot.

Elsewhere, mixed results for Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz and the injured Leon Haslam means Jonathan Rea sits ahead of them in fifth place, while his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama deserves a mention for two good top ten finishes on his WSBK debut as he holds down ninth overall.

In all, 20 riders scored at Phillip Island, with just four of the full-time riders (discounting Leandro Mercado, who was substituted by Bryan Staring), failing to make it onto the score sheet at the first time of asking.

2012 World Superbike Championship rider standings (After round 1 of 14)

1. Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing 45 points
2. Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad 30
3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing 29
4. Carlos Checa Althea Ducati 25
5. Jonathan Rea Honda WSBK 22
6. Sylvain Guintoli Effenbert Liberty Ducati 16
7. Jakub Smrz Liberty Effenbert Ducati 16
8. Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 15
9. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda WSBK 15
10. Maxime Berger Effenbert Liberty Ducati 12
11. Michel Fabrizio BMW Italia GoldBet 10
12. Davide Giugliano Althea Ducati 10
13. Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing 8
14. Lorenzo Zanetti PATA Ducati 7
15. Niccolo Canepa Red Devils Roma Ducati 6
15=. Bryan Staring Pedercini Kawasaki 6
17. Leon Camier Crescent Fixi Suzuki 4
18. David Salom Pedercini Kawasaki 2
19. Josh Brookes Crescent Fixi Suzuki 1
19=. Joan Lascorz Kawasaki Racing 1

2012 World Superbike Championship manufacturer standings

1. Aprilia 45 points
2. Ducati 41
3. BMW 31
4. Kawasaki 29
5. Honda 22
6. Suzuki 4