Perhaps the most important result of the race, however, was Haga's eighth position, the championship leader defying crippling pain in his shoulder and wrist to finish comfortably inside the top ten. Crucially, this adds eight points to his margin over Spies, an advantage that now stands at 22 points.
A late charge by Matthieu Lagrive saw him claim his best result yet on the Althea Honda in ninth place, the Frenchman taking advantage of a problem for Tamada in the closing stages to sneak ahead. Nonethless, Tamada held on for tenth position, his best World Superbike finish in 34 races.
Outside the top ten, Fonsi Nieto
was a solid 11th on his debut with the DFX Ducati team, the Spaniard just edging out Broc Parkes on the second Kawasaki.
Ryuichi Kiyonari, who finished inside the top five at Brno last season, continued his struggles on the HRC-liveried Ten Kate Honda down in 13th position, just ahead of countryman Yukio Kagayama
on the sole Alstare Suzuki. Vittorio Iannuzzo was 15th to score his and the Squadra Corse Italia team's first point of the season.