A return to the winners' circle for Noriyuki Haga is enough to see him return to the top of the World Superbike Championship standings following a very convincing performance at Imola.

Far from floundering in the wake of Ben Spies' gathering momentum, the American could not quite get his head around the Imola circuit during race day, labouring to fourth and fifth while Haga took a win and a second place.

Nonetheless, while Haga may be back in front with four races remaining, the three point gap between them - the lowest margin it has been at the end of a weekend this year - ensures this is still shaping up to be a classic run to the finish.

Michel Fabrizio was the day's other big winner, taking pole position and a second career victory to put a substantial amount of air between himself and Jonathan Rea, as well as all but ensure he will finish the year in third position.

Rea, meanwhile, suffered a troublesome day to slip back into the clutches of Max Biaggi, whose second and fourth place finishes put him just six points adrift.

Elsewhere, other significant moves were kept to a minimum with Jakub Smrz's two race finishes helping him past Shane Byrne for eighth in the standings, while Troy Corser ascends to 15th too on the BMW.

Third place for debutant Marco Simoncelli, meanwhile, means he brings the number of scorers for this year's championship up to 39.

Full World Superbike Championship rider standings (After 12 rounds of 14 - Previous position in brackets)

1. (2) Noriyuki Haga Ducati Xerox 391 points 2. (1) Ben Spies Yamaha WSB 388 3. (3) Michel Fabrizio Ducati Xerox 330 4. (4) Jonathan Rea Ten Kate Honda 263 5. (5) Max Biaggi Aprilia 257 6. (6) Leon Haslam Stiggy Honda 219 7. (7) Carlos Checa Ten Kate Honda 183 8. (9) Shane Byrne Sterilgarda Ducati 149 9. (8) Tom Sykes Yamaha WSB 176 10. (10) Jakub Smrz Guandalini Ducati 155 11. (11) Ryuichi Kiyonari Ten Kate Honda 141 12. (12) Yukio Kagayama Suzuki Alstare Brux 104 13. (13) Shinya Nakano Aprilia 86 14. (14) Regis Laconi DFX Ducati 77 15. (16) Troy Corser BMW Alpha 76 16. (15) Max Neukirchner Suzuki Alstare Brux 75 17. (17) Ruben Xaus BMW Alpha 57 18. (18) Broc Parkes Kawasaki WSB 41 19. (19) Matthieu Lagrive Althea Honda 24 20. (20) John Hopkins Stiggy Honda 17 21. (21) Fonsi Nieto Suzuki Alstare Brux/DFX Ducati 17 22. (-) Marco Simoncelli Aprilia 16 23. (22) Leon Camier Airwaves Yamaha 13 24. (29) Karl Muggeridge Celani Suzuki/Suzuki Alstare Brux 13 25. (23) Gregorio Lavilla Guandalini Ducati 12 26. (24) Lorenzo Lanzi DFX Ducati 10 27. (25) Jamie Hacking Kawasaki WSB 9 28. (26) Makoto Tamada Kawasaki WSB 8 29. (27) James Ellison Airwaves Yamaha 8 30. (28) Sheridan Morais Kawasaki WSB 8 31. (30) Simon Andrews MSS Colchester Kawasaki 6 32. (31) Tommy Hill Althea Honda 6 33. (35) Matteo Baiocco PSG-1 Kawasaki/Guandalini Ducati 5 34. (32) Luca Scassa Pedercini Kawasaki 5 35. (33) Brendan Roberts Guandalini Ducati 3 36. (34) Roberto Rolfo Stiggy Honda 3 37. (36) Vittorio Iannuzzo SCI Honda 2 38. (37) Jake Zemke Stiggy Honda 1 39. (38) Alessandro Polita Celani Suzuki 1

Full World Superbike Championship manufacturer standings (After 12 rounds of 14 - Previous position in brackets)

1. (1) Ducati 489 points 2. (2) Yamaha 431 3. (3) Honda 368 4. (4) Aprilia 267 5. (5) Suzuki 148 6. (6) BMW 113 7. (7) Kawasaki 63

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