5 - Ben Spies
We effectively divided our top ten into those that won races and those that didn't and, in our opinion, Ben Spies was the best of those not to stand on the top step of the MotoGP podium in 2010.
In terms of championship points, and podiums, Spies trailed the achievements of Andrea Dovizioso, but we felt Spies should be ranked one place above the Italian due to his circumstances.
Spies may have made four previous MotoGP starts, but he was still a rookie and, unlike the former 250cc riders, had no prior knowledge of many of the racetracks he faced this year.
Despite that disadvantage, and two DNFs from the first three races, Spies clearly emerged as not only the top rookie, but also the top satellite rider.
Of the 18 races, Spies finished as the top satellite rider on eleven occasions and was the top rookie twelve times. The Texan was also the only satellite/rookie rider to stand on the podium this season (twice) and the only satellite/rookie rider to take a pole position.
The final piece of evidence to support Spies' fifth place in our poll was his performance relative to team-mate Colin Edwards.
Edwards had been the top satellite rider with fifth in the 2009 championship, but was only eleventh this year, having scored 73 points less than Spies and not finished higher than fifth.
Edwards was adamant that the 2010 Tech 3 M1 was not as competitive, relative to its rivals, as last year, making Spies' achievements all the more impressive.
The 176 points Spies scored this year also exceeds the 161 that took Edwards to fifth in 2009. Both were scored over 17 races, with Spies not taking part at Estoril this year after injuring his ankle.
Statistics – Ben Spies:
Monster Yamaha Tech 3
17 (out of 18)
Rookie of the Year position:
1st (out of 6)
Crash.net's Top 10 MotoGP riders of 2010:
5. Ben Spies
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Nicky Hayden
8. Marco Simoncelli
9. Randy de Puniet
10. Alvaro Bautista