FIM STK 1000 Cup graduates Davide Giugliano, Niccolo Canepa and Lorenzo Zanetti all scored points on their full-time WSBK debuts in Sunday's season-opening Phillip Island round.

Reigning STK champion Giugliano, paired with reigning WSBK champion Carlos Checa at Althea Ducati, led the trio home with a ninth place in race one.

Race two then saw Giugliano reach the brink of the top six, behind BMW riders Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam - only for an arm problem to leave him 13th at the flag.

"Race one I used to gain experience, not knowing exactly how it would go. It went quite well and I was able to use what I learned in this race to go on the attack in the second," he explained. "I started strong in the second race and was up with the front group. I was able to pass those a little slower than me and was, I think, seventh.

"I planned to race behind Melandri and Haslam and conserve the tyres as best I could and that seemed to be working but unfortunately, five laps from the end, I started to suffer pain in my left arm and had to slow down in the final laps.

"It was a pity because if it hadn't been for that, I could have finished in the front group which wouldn't have been at all bad! I have to solve this problem before Imola where I am sure I can do better," Giugliano added, suggesting he could undergo 'arm-pump' surgery.

While Giugliano faded, former STK champion and MotoGP rider Canepa was able to claim a tenth place finish for the Red Devils Roma Ducati team, helping to make up for a race one mishap.

"In race one I did not start well and then during the rush to recover, I make a mistake on the second lap," explained Canepa, fifth in STK last season. "I went off and returned in last place, 30 seconds behind the rider ahead of me. The race was ruined, but I wanted to continue to better understand the behaviour of the Ducati's race pace and with worn tyres.

"For race two, we decided to change something that proved correct. I had a good start but then I tried not to push so as not to take risks on the tyres. The strategy proved to be right as in the end I managed to recover certain positions to finish in tenth.

"Getting a top ten was our goal for this first round of the World Superbikes and we saw that our pace is generally positive. The tests went very well and in the race, but we paid for our inexperience," added Canepa, who had been an excellent seventh in second qualifying.

By contrast Zanetti, third in last year's STK standings, faired far better in the races than had been expected from his practice form. The Pata Ducati rider finished 11th and 14th after being just 21st in qualifying.

"It was certainly a weekend full of excitement and with great difficulties to resolve. Adapting to a bike with so much power was not easy, but we steadily improved our time every day. In race one I was very tense and I made a disastrous start, but gained confidence to duel in the mid-field. In the next I was calmer but over the distance I may have been a little tired.

"I am very happy because the team has worked very well, but we still have much to improve on, which encourages me. At the start [of the weekend] I would not have thought of returning home with seven championship points and now we are almost dissatisfied because we could have had more.

"At Imola I hope to make another small step that will allow me to enter the Superpole and maybe a top ten result in the category."