Having lost ground from fourth on the grid, Petrucci dived inside Aegerter as the field threaded its way from Turn 1 to 2 at the start of the Superpole contest.

But the pair made contact, with the Swiss star falling and wiping out GYT Yamaha team-mate Gardner.

Petrucci was handed a Long Lap Penalty for the incident.

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“For me [the penalty] was not really the right decision,” the Barni Ducati rider told WorldSBK.com.

“First of all, I’m sorry about the crash of Dominique and Remy, but I was on the inside and I think a little bit in front because I just felt Dominique touch the rear of my bike.

“Normally, especially in the first lap, they [Stewards] don’t give any penalty. But today they didn’t wait even two laps to understand the situation, they gave immediately the Long Lap.

“At least I would have preferred to speak with the Stewards and maybe receive a penalty after the race. Also because with the Long Lap my race was ruined.”

Aegerter said: “We actually had a great getaway, but I got hit after just two corners which led me to crash. Unfortunately, Remy was involved too, which is a real shame for the team.”

While Aegerter re-joined at the back, Gardner tumbled heavily down the track and couldn’t continue.

“We had a good start and I felt good with the SCQ tyre and reckoned we could have done a good race to gain a better position on the grid. Unfortunately, we didn’t get past turn two and personally I didn’t feel 100% physically after the crash,” said the Australian.

Petrucci: 'I thought I’d broken my femur'

But the Superpole drama wasn’t over for Petrucci, who dropped from sixth to tenth after serving his penalty, then became involved in a race-stopping clash with former MotoGP team-mate Iker Lecuona on lap 7.

“I was behind the two Honda guys, Xavi [Vierge] passed Iker in Turn 8, Iker went a bit wide and I was there and we touched,” said Petrucci, who clipped the back of Lecuona. “I’m so sorry for Iker but I had no space to go. Unfortunately, we both crashed.”

The race was red-flagged with Lecuona briefly trapped under his bike, and later declared unfit, while Petrucci was also taken to the Medical centre before returning for the final race.

“When I crashed, I thought I’d broken my femur,” Petrucci explained. “Fortunately I just have a really big hematoma on my right leg.”

“It was really tough to make race [two]. I was in the medical centre just minutes before the start and was not sure. But in the end, I needed to try and I would like to thank all the fans and my team."

Lecuona said: “We had a big crash in the Superpole race and it was not even my fault as I was hit from behind by another rider.

“I had to go to the medical centre and was declared unfit for race two. I’m not feeling great but not too bad either. The good thing is that I’ve nothing broken, and this is the most important thing.

“On the other hand, I have this contusion to a muscle in my leg and a few hematomas here and there, so it’s best I don’t walk for two or three days and rest completely. But this is racing in the end.”

Petrucci, who had also crashed while chasing Toprak Razgatlioglu for third place at the same (Turn 8) corner in the Saturday race, went on to claim seventh in the final outing of the weekend.

“During race one, I sincerely thought to go on the podium, even if it’s almost impossible to pass Toprak here. But for sure I would have preferred to finish fourth [than crash],” Petrucci said.

“But we are still not good at braking. And even braking less than before I crashed [in race one]. It’s the first time I’ve crashed going slower into a corner.

“[Sunday] was a chaotic Superpole race and then I started tenth in race two.

"If you are stuck behind riders two-three tenths slower it’s hard to pass. I tried to score as many points as possible and we’ve maybe made a step forward.

“I think we had the potential for one podium [this weekend] but we only left with a seventh... It was a really unlucky weekend."

Petrucci believes next month’s Donington Park round will show if recent upgrades to the Panigale, most notably a new swingarm, were behind his improved speed at Misano.

“I think I will have a good answer at Donington Park,” he said. “I don’t know if [our speed at Misano] was because the track was very grippy, or just having more kilometres on this bike.

“The big test for us will be Donington Park where we can see if I did a definite step forward and can fight for the top five again, like this weekend.”

Petrucci is currently tenth in the world championship with a best race finish of fifth in his rookie WorldSBK campaign.