7 - Nicky Hayden
2010 was Nicky Hayden's best season, in terms of points, since his 2006 MotoGP championship year.
And, although he only made one podium appearance - the same as in his first season at Ducati - he was less than half-a-second from the rostrum on three further occasions.
Had Hayden converted some of those near-misses into trophies he would have been higher in our ranking, because there were plenty of positives for the American in 2010.
Totally outperformed by team-mate Casey Stoner last year, Hayden was far more competitive this season, claiming eleven top-six finishes compared with just five in 2009.
Hayden also beat Stoner twice in the ten races that they both finished, and out-qualified the Australian on four occasions.
That might not sound like much, but Stoner had only been beaten by his Ducati team-mate three times, when both finished, from 2007-2009. Two of those losses were influenced by either mechanical problems or weather.
When Hayden did finally achieve his long-awaited 2010 podium he did it in style, passing eventual world champion Jorge Lorenzo on the very last lap at Aragon.
Seventh in the final world championship standings also equals the best ranking by a Ducati rider other than Stoner since the start of the 800cc era, while Hayden improved on his 2009 tally by 59 points.
Statistics –Nicky Hayden:
Ducati Desmosedici GP10
18 (out of 18)
Crash.net's Top 10 MotoGP riders of 2010:
7. Nicky Hayden
8. Marco Simoncelli
9. Randy de Puniet
10. Alvaro Bautista