The former MotoGP rider made big steps forward on day one of the season-opener at Phillip Island, following an up-and-down pre-season for the WorldSBK rookie. 

Petrucci finished ninth on combined times but was fourth fastest during FP2, a good sign given the second session on a Friday is typically run around the same time as both Races 1 and 2. 

“It was good,” said Petrucci about his first competitive day as a Superbike rider. “We are at the beginning of our process. The fact is I’m quite different to the other riders because of my size so we need a bit more time to learn the bike and the technicians need a bit of time to understand what I say. 

“But today everything worked and it was good. Was not something really, really exciting but it was a step forward and I’m happy, not [particularly] about the lap time, but the feeling.”

When talking about the upcoming Superpole session and Race 1 on Saturday, which will be his first in the series, the Italian couldn’t contain his excitement. 

Petrucci added: “I’m more or less everything. I’m nervous, excited, happy, curious and just really happy to be here. I must say the environment of the Superbike paddock is really nice. 

“The contact with the people, the paddock show and all the riders are friendly at the moment. Tomorrow will be a big, big day.”

Petrucci is one of many WorldSBK riders who could make an impact, but who are the others?

While Alvaro Bautista was dominant during both practice sessions, particularly FP2, Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu were anything but that.

In fact, it appears as though the likes of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Andrea Locatelli and others could be in the mix for a podium alongside Rea and Razgatlioglu. 

Adding his name to that list of contenders was Honda’s Iker Lecuona, who was also strong throughout day one.

After struggling during the two day test earlier this week, Lecuona showed no signs of being unable to battle for a top position.

Speaking after FP2, Lecuona said: "It was better than we expected! After the test, we struggled a lot. This morning, on the first laps, I felt good with the new tyres straight away. I understood what we needed to change on the bike to make a step. 

"We were alone and the good thing is that I can produce this lap time when riding alone. It’s a good step for us. In the morning, I had a small crash at Turn 10 because we locked the front a lot and I missed some support. 

"In Free Practice 2, I did a long run, a race simulation, and felt good and consistent. Alvaro surprised me because he and the Ducati have another step. His pace was unbelievable. I think we are not far away to fight at the front."