Chris Vermeulen did the double at Laguna Seca in the seventh round of the World Superbike Championship to throw himself right into contention for a title challenge.

Having picked up his first ever World Superbike victory last time out at Silverstone, Vermeulen's performance in America lifts him to third in the standings, just 14 points behind James Toseland.

In race one, Vermeulen picked up a comfortable victory from popular Italian Pier Francesco Chili - eventually crossing the line 4.127seconds ahead of the Ducati rider. Steve Martin, who had been quickest in Superpole claimed third to end his recent run of bad luck.

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The closest battle in that first race was for fourth between works Ducati teammates Toseland and Regis Laconi, the Englishman eventually taking the place by just 0.043seconds. Having started from the pit lane, Noriyuki Haga was a fine sixth.

Race two was a much closer affair for Vermeulen with Toseland shadowing his every move. However the Honda was able to stay ahead as Vermeulen made it three wins in a row by just 0.465seconds. Although Laconi managed to fend off the challenge of Haga for the final podium place, it wasn't enough to keep his championship lead, which passes to Toseland who now leads by three points.

Chili followed up his podium in race one with fifth, followed home again by Martin on the DFX Ducati. During the weekend Chili broke the record for most World Superbike starts - the second race being his 230th race in the championship beating the record of Aaron Slight.

The weekend didn't go to plan for the Foggy Petronas team. Troy Corser took tenth in race one but it was the teams only finish of the weekend, with Chris Walker's luck deserting him completely. [See seperate story]

Next up the series moves to Brands Hatch for round eight on 1 August, when the Supersport and Superstock championships will be back in attendance.

Race two top ten

1. Chris Vermeulen Ten Kate Honda
2. James Toseland Ducati Fila
3. R?gis Laconi Ducati Fila
4. Noriyuki Haga Team Renegade Ducati
5. Pier Francesco Chili Team PSG-1 Corse
6. Steve Martin DFXtreme Sterilgarda
7. Garry McCoy Team Xerox Ducati - Nortel Networks
8. Marco Borciani DFXtreme Sterilgarda
9. Mauro Sanchini Team Kawasaki Bertocchi
10. Ivan Clementi Team Kawasaki Bertocchi