While there was plenty of chatter off the track leading up to the new season, mostly about his apparently fractious relationship with team-mate James Toseland, Colin Edwards's most convincing argument came when the lights turned green as he firmly established himself as Tech 3 Yamaha's number one rider.
While he was initially openly critical about the swap of crew chiefs over the winter, ironically Edwards would go on to enjoy his best MotoGP season in five years as by finishing the season fifth in the standings – a feat you have duly recognised by voting the American as your third top rider of 2009.
Consistency was Edwards' strength in 2009, the former World Superbike champion failing to finish just one race. Indeed, save for a coupe of lacklustre performances elsewhere, Edwards was regularly the top satellite rider on the grid, producing a set of results that included three fourths, three fifths, one sixth and five sevenths.
He was also back on the podium with a run to second position at a sodden Donington Park. Although he just missed out on that long awaited first victory to Andrea Dovizioso, it was Edwards' best MotoGP result since he managed an identical result at the British Grand Prix in 2007.
Edwards would ultimately have the last laugh over the Italian though by pulling off a significant scalp in edging the factory-backed rider in the standings overall by the smallest of margins.
Edwards would also have the last laugh over Toseland, ending the season with an almost perfect record against the outgoing Briton. He faces a new challenge in 2010 though with the arrival of Ben Spies, the American having already shown his countryman of his capabilities with a star turn at the Valencia season finale.
Nonetheless, with the Yamaha M1 proving the bike to beat overall, it's safe to assume Edwards will be an ever-present threat again next year – and who knows, that first win may well follow…
Tech 3 Yamaha
2nd (Donington Park)
Top 10 MotoGP Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 MotoGP Rider of the Year 2009:
- Casey Stoner
- Dani Pedrosa
- Marco Melandri
- Andrea Dovizioso
- Toni Elias
- Loris Capirossi
- Nicky Hayden