Fila Ducati's Regis Laconi won the second race of the World Superbikes from Imola to take his second win of the day. His team-mate James Toseland came across the line just 0.041secs behind the French rider in one of the closest finishes yet this season.
Ten Kate Honda's Chris Vermeulen managed to accidentally high-side his Fireblade on the warm-up lap. Giovanni Bussei saw the stricken Australian and stopped track-side to give him a lift to the pits. Here Vermeulen hobbled up to his spare bike to start the race from the pit lane exit in last position.
However the Honda rider did not waste any time in clawing his way back up to the front, knowing full well that he had to finish strongly in a maximum points scoring position in order to keep his championship hopes alive.
Meanwhile, at the front Laconi took a commanding lead over proceedings from the start, with Rengade Ducati's Noriyuki Haga and Fellow Fila rider James Toseland hot in pursuit in second and third respectively.
In no time at all the leading three had opened up a lead to fourth placed Steve Martin, and by lap five they were 6 seconds ahead.
Haga looked despirate to get pass Laconi, knowing that he needed to score well to make up the gap that had opened up following the first race and the last round at Assen.
On the ninth lap he got his chance as Laconi made a mistake that took him wide on the exit of Tamburello going onto the back straight. This allowed Haga to get immediately passed, with Toseland out dragging his team mate by the end of the straight.
Now Haga led with Toseland second and Laconi third.
By this point, on the tenth lap, Vermeulen was still carving his way through the pack, up to tenth and chasing down ninth placed FPR rider Troy Corser.
Corser saw the youngster closing and on the 12th lap let him through, after seeing what had happened on the warm up lap. Corser knew that Vermeulen had a shot of the championship and graciously put aside his own race to allow the Honda rider through with minimum friction.