The World Superbike Championship has returned to us, helping fill the winter snow & rain blues. Coming to us this weekend from Phillip Island, Australia, WSBK shows some new faces in the Superpole mix now that Ben Spies has left World Superbike for greener pastures. With the weather holding out, Superpole at PI had some surprising results, and some not so surprising results. Click past the break to get the low down.

Leon Haslam will lead the pack this Sunday, taking his first Superpole victory ever. After the Ducati dominance earlier in the week, we see only one member from Rosso Corsa making the front of the grid: Michel Fabrizio.

Noticeably absent is Noriyuki Haga, who has been struggling all week. Haga will start from the 10th position, which is a bit of a change for last year’s runner-up. Haga won’t be alone though, as 2009’s 4th place finisher, Max Biaggi, will start behind Haga in the 11th position. Biaggi’s Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 has been suffering from tire/suspension issues, which always seem to throw the Italian off his mark.

Another surprise was James Toseland, who while navigating his way to the final round of the Superpole qualifying event, did so on qualifying tires. This meant the British rider had to compete in the third round on race tires, which put him at an obvious disadvantage. As such, he’ll start 8th and hope to pick up positions on Sunday.

With a plethora of riders having something to prove tomorrow, all eyes will be watching for an early indication of how the 2010 World Superbike season will play out. Stay tuned race fans.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Phillip Island, Australia:

Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev.
1 91 L. Haslam Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’31.229 0.000
2 84 M. Fabrizio Ducati 1098R 1’31.245 0.016 0.016
3 35 C. Crutchlow Yamaha YZF R1 1’31.642 0.413 0.397
4 7 C. Checa Ducati 1098R 1’31.671 0.442 0.029
5 50 S. Guintoli Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’31.696 0.467 0.025
6 96 J. Smrz Ducati 1098R 1’31.757 0.528 0.061
7 65 J. Rea Honda CBR1000RR 1’31.912 0.683 0.155
8 52 J. Toseland Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.019 0.790 0.107
Out after Superpole 2
9 57 L. Lanzi Ducati 1098R 1’32.205 0.976 0.186
10 41 N. Haga Ducati 1098R 1’32.229 1.000 0.024
11 3 M. Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1’32.293 1.064 0.064
12 66 T. Sykes Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’32.398 1.169 0.105
13 11 T. Corser BMW S1000 RR 1’32.430 1.201 0.032
14 77 C. Vermeulen Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’32.561 1.332 0.131
15 111 R. Xaus BMW S1000 RR 1’32.842 1.613 0.281
16 2 L. Camier Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1’32.895 1.666 0.053
Out after Superpole 1
17 76 M. Neukirchner Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.782 1.553 -0.113
18 67 S. Byrne Ducati 1098R 1’32.823 1.594 0.041
19 88 A. Pitt BMW S1000 RR 1’33.207 1.978 0.384
20 123 R. Resch BMW S1000 RR 1’33.390 2.161 0.183
Did not qualify for Superpole
21 25 J. Brookes Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.901 2.672 0.511
22 31 V. Iannuzzo Honda CBR1000RR 1’34.248 3.019 0.347
23 15 M. Baiocco Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’35.297 4.068 1.049
24 95 R. Hayden Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’35.614 4.385 0.317