Vermeulen beats Haga for first WSBK victory.

Having lost race one by just 0.15secs after being mugged by Noriyuki Haga in the final turn, WSBK rookie Chris Vermeulen took revenge in race two at Silverstone by matching all Nitro Nori's moves in an even closer encounter.

In doing so, the Ten Kate Honda rider has ended Ducati's domination of the class - which stretches back to the Colin Edwards/Troy Bayliss battle of 2002 - returned a four-cylinder machine to the winner's cirle - and etched his name into the record books by claiming the 400th World Superbike race ever held.

In a near repeat of race one, Haga and Vermeulen led right from the start, but this time they were joined by Ducati Fila's Regis Laconi - who stuck with the top two as they pulled away from James Toseland and the rest of the field.

Toseland – who had 'ground the end of his thumb off' when he fell in race one – was dealt a further blow on lap five when Frankie Chili, who been forced to start sixteenth after mechanical problems but was on another potential podium charge and challenging the Brit for fourth – fell through the high-speed Becketts section, forcing Toseland onto the grass in the process.

Toseland would rejoin in sixth, behind Haslam and impressive wild-card James Ellison, while his Ducati Fila team-mate Laconi would remain in victory contention until fading with three laps to go, leaving the Frenchman a safe third.

Meanwhile, Vermeulen had firmly slammed the door on Haga's many attempts to pass by the time they began the last lap – and would defend his position down Hanger Straight and into Stowe corner, a favourite area for the Japanese rider.

The Australian then kept in front through the fast Abbey and Bridge corners, but Haga would pull alongside through the Brooklands section of the infield. Having lost race one is almost the same place, Vermeulen had been expecting a move and by staying alongside the Renegade rider he inherited the inside line at Luffield.

Haga was thus forced to back off and Vermeulen slotted decisively in front to lead in – and more improtantly out – of the fiddly Woodcote Chicane for a landmark victory.

Six seconds further back, Laconi claimed third, and with it the championship lead, while Toseland crossed the line fifth, seven seconds behind countryman Haslam, but less than a second clear of DFX Ducati's Steve Martin.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Vermeulen, Haga, WSBK Race 1 Silverstone, 2004
Haga, Suzuka 8 hours, 2015
Podium, Smith, Espargaro, Nakasuga, Aegerter, Kiyonari, Haga, Hook, Kagayama Suzuka 8 hours, 2015
Team kagayama, Haga, Kiyonari, Kagayama Suzuka 8 hours, 2015
Nori Haga (JPN), Team Kagayama Suzuki [Credit: Suzuki]
Vermeulen and Alex Lowes, Race two, Australian WSBK 2015
Guintoli and Vermeulen, Australian WSBK 2015
Vermeulen, Australian WSBK 2015
Vermeulen, Australian WSBK 2015
Bayliss, Crump, Vermeulen, Australian WSBK 2015
Baaylis 1, Vermeulen 7, Crump JC, Australian WSBK 2015
Kagayama, Aegerter, Haga, Suzuki 8 hours, July 2014
HAga, Suzuki 8 hours, July 2014
Haga and Nakaguga, Suzuka 8 Hours, 2013
Haga and Nakaguga, Suzuka 8 Hours, 2013
Haga, Suzuka 8 hour, July 2013
Haga, Kagayama, Schwantz, Suzuka 8 hour, July 2013
Haga, Imola WSBK 2013

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