1st - Valentino Rossi Average score out of ten: 9.3 Team: Movistar Yamaha Bike: YZR-M1 (Factory) Wins: 2 Podiums: 13 Poles: 1 Fastest Laps: 1 Championship points: 295 Championship position: 2nd out of 27

During his Ducati years, Valentino Rossi was voted just 10th and 11th in the Crash.net MotoGP Star of the Year polls. Despite a race-winning return to Yamaha, the Italian again failed to impress you last year - being voted sixth, behind even CRT rider Aleix Espargaro.

But the Italian's 2014 resurgence produced his best on-track results since a seventh MotoGP title in 2009 - and Rossi has made a similar revival in your Star of the Year vote, topping the list for the first time since that same season.

Related Articles

Undoubtedly the most popular rider on the MotoGP grid, that hadn't helped Rossi during the last three years of the poll vote.

Rossi's previous poll victories (2008 and 2009) both came after winning the world championship, which The Doctor didn't even come close to doing in 2014, instead finishing a distant runner-up to Marc Marquez.

So what did you see in Rossi this year that was missing in the recent past?

One factor was surely the magnitude of his improvement relative to last season. While Marquez was only expected to get better this year, Rossi - 14 years his senior - began the year unsure if he would even sign another MotoGP contract, after being comprehensively beaten for much of 2013.

Spurred on by a shock change of crew chief, the oldest rider on the grid (after Colin Edwards's mid-season retirement) more than doubled his podium tally relative to last year and racked up 58 more points.

To put that into perspective, Marquez scored 28 points more than last year on the way to his title defence. Jorge Lorenzo lost 67 points relative to last year and Dani Pedrosa minus 54 points. Although Rossi only scored two wins, he was runner-up on six further occasions.

Rossi's main weakness this season was in qualifying, with just three front row starts (including a first pole since 2010), but the Saturday struggles often made his race results more praiseworthy.

In pure riding terms, the record-breaking Marquez was the undisputed best. But this poll was about more than results and it seems that for many fans Rossi's performance was the surprise of the season.

Indeed, the level of surprise (good or bad) seems to have been a major factor throughout your Star of the Year voting.

While Marquez was expected to improve further after his brilliant rookie MotoGP title and Rossi surprised after three subdued seasons, much better was expected from the likes of Lorenzo and Pedrosa - leaving them much lower in the poll than their championship positions. By contrast, the likes of Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone surpassed predictions and were duly voted higher.

Rossi's poll win marks only the second time that the reigning world champion has been beaten in the MotoGP Star of the Year vote, the other occasion being Pedrosa over Lorenzo in 2012.

"It is incredible," Marquez said of Rossi's 2014 'comeback'. "35 years old is one thing, but for me the most important is that after two not so good years at Ducati, then come back in Yamaha and struggle a little bit last season, this year he has come back [to the front].

"It shows how strong he is as a rider, because after three years without good results it's difficult to come back. He came back really strong and for example in Malaysia, with 35 degree heat, he was pushing me until the last three laps. I respect him a lot. I always say I would like to be like him in the future but it will be really difficult!"

"I think the season from Valentino has a lot of unbelievable merits," added Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. "After, as Marc said, three years not so good. Especially the two years at Ducati. Coming back so strong, improving his riding, working even more physically and also staying in the pit box and working a lot of hours to try to improve the setting on his bike."

Valentino Rossi in the Crash.net MotoGP Star of the Year poll MotoGP Star of the Year 2014: 1st MotoGP Star of the Year 2013: 6th MotoGP Star of the Year 2012: 11th MotoGP Star of the Year 2011: 10th MotoGP Star of the Year 2010: 3rd MotoGP Star of the Year 2009: 1st MotoGP Star of the Year 2008: 1st

Crash.net MotoGP Star of the Year - vote winners: 2014: Valentino Rossi 2013: Marc Marquez 2012: Dani Pedrosa 2011: Casey Stoner 2010: Jorge Lorenzo 2009: Valentino Rossi 2008: Valentino Rossi

About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' World Championship standings, the MotoGP Star of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.

Over 50,000 votes were cast for the 2014 Crash.net MotoGP Star of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of this year's full-time participants - only Colin Edwards, who retired during the season, was not included - with a mark out of ten.

2014 MotoGP Star of the Year: Top 10 1st Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha 9.3 2nd Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda 9.0 3rd Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team 7.0 4th Aleix Espargaro SPA Forward Yamaha 6.9 5th Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Ducati 6.8 6th Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha 6.7 7th Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 6.3 8th Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda 6.2 9th Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini 6.1 10th Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 5.7

Full ranking featuring all 22 full-season riders to be revealed on December 26.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

I think the first place is well deserved by Valentino.

He proved a lot of people wrong didn't he so it was no surprise to see him poll at No1.

I can't wait to see what 2015 brings as I think Vale will once again be in contention for another title, many will disagree with me, but just think about this 2 years ago many was saying Valentino was finished never likely to win another race.

And no one can say he did it against poor opposition this past year, the whole grid really is top class.

Good luck to them all in 2015.

MM didn't "deserve" anything here. It's just a democratic vote showing who is the rider that beat the odds of the pessimists. Rossi has most fans and his yellow optimism will burn away all pessimism by working hard, never giving up and ride the hell out of his bike. At the end the results told the tale and made others just shut up. Anyone could have expected it ...I'm sure he'll give it all he's got in 2015. MM's good and has a right spirit but, hey, you can't compare VR and him...lets see in 15 years where MM ended up. until then we all know who is the GOAT ..certainly of many hearts and that is what counts :-)