After the first race at Imola, Ten Kate Honda's Chris Vermeulen led the World Superbike championship by one point. After the second race, where he battled his way to sixth from the back following a warm-up lap crash, he was relegated to third spot. Here he exclusivelytells Louise Cain what went wrong...

Q: Where do we begin, what a weekend and what a way to end it. First of all lets go to the beginning of race two, you were leading the championship by one point, then what?

Chris Vermeulen: Yeah I went out on the sighting lap on my bike I used in race one, which we made a few changes to chassis wise we thought would be the way to go. It started missing up top at high RPM's, so when I pulled up to the grid I told the mechanics, so we changed bikes to my other one. I hadn't used my other bike all day, but I used it yesterday afternoon just before Superpole. I was set up the same but then I rode off on the warm up lap and turned into turn one and just between turn one and two I accelerated in a straight line and apparently there was a lot of smoke behind me and oil come out and it was all over my tyre. So I ended up on the ground pretty quickly. Got a lift back to the pits with Bussei...

Q: Let me stop you there, you're lying in the dirt, your championship effectively over at that point, then what?

CV: Well Bussei stopped for me. He's only a row behind, on the second row of the grid and he said he saw the smoke and he felt he wanted to get to me to tell me but he couldn't get in front of me you know. So he pulled over to give me a lift back because he knows that I'm in with a chance at the championship. He gave me a lift back and in the end he got into trouble for it. So I think I owe him more than a couple of beers now. He got a ride through penalty, which I'm really disappointed about I don't understand why. I got back to the pit lane and got on my other bike and started from the back of the grid.

Q: Now importantly as you hopped over the wall Claudio Costa the Doctor for the whole event, had to do a medical check. Now it was the quickest medical check I've ever seen!

CV: Yeah I think I owe him one too!! Yeah he just said "Are you ok?", I said "Yeah fine" and he told me to come to the clinic after the race. I wasn't in much pain at that time because I was rushing to get back and get my other bike, even though I thought there was a problem with it. I started a long way back, I even had to pass the pace cars on the first lap, you know and come through it was quite hard work and then I started to feel my hand getting a bit sore during the race. I'm thinking "am I going to get anywhere", because the first few laps I was in position 28 and 25 and 24. Eventually I finished sixth. After the race finished when I rode around slowly that is when the pain started to come to me. My hand was hurting a bit and my foot and hip and I couldn't really get off the bike. We think I've torn a ligament in my right ankle and a possible broken scaphoid in my right hand and I'm badly bruised and some skin missing off my hip. A little bit sore.

Q: To say the least! Now what does this mean going into Magny-Cours? You're 14 points behind in the tile from the factory boys.

CV: 13 points.

Q: Oh, ok. I'm not going to steal a point off you now after that effort! Do you think you'll be fit enough to race and challenge them?

CV: I think so, my lap times were quite good in the second race. Apparently I was running with the front guys lap time wise and that was with this injury. I've had injections before, I won Monza with a dislocated thumb and broken ligament, so I'm sure if I need pain killers Dr Costa will be happy to give them to me and send me out there. I'll give it my best shot for sure.

Q: You've got it admit that that was one of the greatest races of your young career so far. Sheer determination to go on and get a result out of it.

CV: I didn't think I could but I had to give it a shot you know It's a whole year of effort from Honda and Ten Kate, and all the team sponsors, and myself, just to sit back there just wouldn't be the right thing to do. So I just gave it all I could. My bike actually started to play up in the second race, on the last four laps. Otherwise I know I could have got McCoy and Nannelli. That would have been even better points. But if's, but's and maybe's, thats what happened, so I started to slow down. But we still got sixth place so that was alright.

Q: So the factory guys can't relax and forget about you just yet, is that right?

CV: I'm 13 off Regis and I'm nine points off James. I think its only the three of us who could win the championship now, so its not going to be easy for me. If I win both races and Regis is second in both, I'm still not champion. So I just got to go out and do my own race. Any thing could happen, bikes can break down, riders can crash. So its not over until the fat lady sings as they say.