Noriyuki Haga managed to steal first place from Regis Laconi on the final lap after a mighty battle in World Superbike race one at Brands Hatch today.

Haga, Laconi and Pierfrancesco Chili battled throughout the race, each swapping positions with every lap. However, Chili would high-side out of the lead just after taking the number one position from Laconi at mid-race distance.

The Italian made his exit at Surtees, the second left hander of the track - which leads onto the fastest straight of the circuit. The PSG-1 rider having become increasingly ragged through the corner as his rear tyre lost grip.

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Chili had just passed race leader Laconi on the 18th lap and was trying to pull a lead when the rear of his 998 hybrid whipped round too fast for him to correct it, it then gripped and catapulted him over the bars and into the gravel. He got straight up, but seemed to be limping from the very hard landing.

After the incident Renegade Ducati rider Haga and Fila Ducati mounted Laconi went on to pull away from pole man Steve Martin, who held on to take third position from a hard charging Chris Vermeulen.

FP1 rider Troy Corser had problems on the last couple of laps but kept his fifth place from the highest placed Brit and British Superbike wild-card rider James Ellison.

Former championship leader James Toseland finished in seventh, with a bike that had a dulled engine note in comparison to his team-mate Laconi.

Craig Coxhell, another wild-card rider from BSB rode an excellent race to finish eighth.

Leon Haslam disastrously crashed out of eighth place in the final stages of the race.

Race two commences at 15.30 GMT.

Race one top ten
1. Haga
2. Laconi
3. Martin
4. Vermeulen
5. Corser
6. Ellison
7. Toseland
8. Coxhell
9. Walker
10. Nannelli