Chris Vermeulen took the win for his Winston Ten Kate Honda team at the first race of round eleven of the Corona Extra World Superbike Championship in Imola.

Vermeulen got past Corser after he had a bit of a slide as he explains: "Troy had a slide and I managed to get a good drive out of the corner. I knew I could get in front and block him, and I'll try to do the same again in the next race."

Corser came home in second place after a race long battle with the young Aussie. The Alstare Corona Extra rider admitted to before the race, that as far as he was concerned the only rider on the track that he would be racing was Vermeulen, and his prediction came true in the race as they both pulled away and had their own private battle.

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With the interesting weather conditions tyre choice played a big part in this race as Corser told us, "It was difficult - we had an extra wet practice session but that didn't really help. I did run with slicks front and rear which I had tried out on Friday in similar conditions and it wasn't too bad.

"I saw on the grid that Chris had an inter front and I didn't think it would last. Chris had a better rear tyre and I tried to make up time at the end but I didn't want any mistakes and finish on the podium."

Third place man was Noriyuki Haga who fought in his usual close fashion with Ducati's James Toseland. Haga put his Yamaha Italia machine on the second row of the grid and it was enough for him to get away with the front runners.

Haga admitted he made a little mistake at the start: "I make little mistake at start and it take five or six laps to have right feel, but others go too much, so I have big fight with Toseland."

Toseland looked set for a podium finish until he ran wide on lap fifteen and was unable to make up the lost time. He is riding with an injured right hand which is making it difficult for him to brake.

Britain's Chris Walker came home in a superb sixth place on his PSG-1 Kawasaki having come through the pack from sixteenth on the grid. He held fifth place until the last lap when Steve Martin on the Foggy Petronas just edged him out.

The race was riddled with crashes - Chili, Kagayama, Pitt and Lanzi were among the big names that crashed, with Kagayama and Pitt rejoining. Kagayama finished in fifteenth place to score one point, with Pitt behind him in sixteenth. A total of sixteen riders failed to finish the race due to crashes, technicals and tyre choice.

Race two was then cancelled due to heavy rain, making Corser world champion with one round to go.

WSBK race results (1) - Imola:

1.Chris Vermeulen
2.Troy Corser
3.Noriyuki Haga
4.James Toseland
5.Steve Martin
6.Chris Walker
7.Max Neukirchner
8.Sebastien Gimbert
9.Regis Laconi
10.Gianluca Vizzello