Two superb races at Assen on Sunday have bumped James Toseland into the lead of the championship title with only two rounds to go, while the prolific Chris Vermeulen was again in fine form.

Two superb races at Assen on Sunday have bumped James Toseland into the lead of the championship title with only two rounds to go, while the prolific Chris Vermeulen was again in fine form.

With Pierfrancesco Chili, Regis Laconi, Noriyuki Haga and Vermeulen following his every move, Toseland led for most of the race. Some frenetic last-lap action saw the lead pack finish in that order, with Vermeulen’s expected late dash shattered by a dubious rear suspension set-up.

The second race produced more action as a vicious battle developed between Toseland and Vermeulen. Toseland had been leading for most of the race, but Vermeulen attacked his position with dogged determination.

The two exchanged the lead on three occasions on the final lap before Vermeulen crossed the line a split-second ahead of the Brit. Haga finished right alongside the pair in one of the closest WSBK finishes yet.

Haga’s team-mate, Leon Haslam, finished sixth in both races despite an injury while one time race winner, Garry McCoy, had some mixed fortune finishing eighth in the first race but experiencing technical problems in the second race.

The updated Foggy Petronas engines were somewhat outpaced at Assen with the best being a seventh place finish in the first race for Troy Corser.

Going into the race, Toseland was lying fourth in the closely contested championship, but after the weekend’s racing, 14 points now separate the top four runners - Toseland, Vermeulen, Laconi and Haga. Only two races in Italy and France remain in the series.