Having asked you to vote for the MotoGP and British Superbike personality you think deserved to be crowned as your top rider of 2008, it is the turn for Crash.net
to countdown the World Superbike top ten, as voted for by you!
Of the three polls, this is arguably the most hotly contested, not least because we gave you a total of 25 riders to rate out of ten.
Having totted up their average scores from almost 25,000 votes, we will be revealing your World Superbike order over the next ten days, with the winner being announced on Friday 19th December.
First though, we kick off our countdown with Michel Fabrizio…
WSBK Rider of the Year – Tenth place:
Ducati 1098 F08
Is the 'second' seat in a factory backed team something of a poisoned chalice?
It has been seen time and time again over the years, most notably with the likes of Karl Muggeridge, Roberto Rolfo and Lorenzo Lanzi, that the dream ticket into a 'works' team can occasionally turn into a nightmare.
Where does Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio, who you rated as the tenth best World Superbike rider of 2008, fit in then?
Taking the place of Lanzi in the team to sit alongside eventual title-winning team-mate Troy Bayliss, Fabrizio arrived at Ducati with a fair reputation behind him having crammed in plenty of track time to belie his 23 (now 24) years of age.
With MotoGP experience, Supersport and two years of Superbike racing on his CV, Fabrizio's efforts of three podiums on privateer machinery had finally earned him a chance to impress on up to date machinery, even if his cynics will point out that nationality may have ultimately aided his cause when Ducati went shopping for an up and coming rider.
Fabrizio's season, however, was the epitome of inconsistent, the Italian looking every inch the race win contender at times, yet remarkably anonymous at others. Of course, it doesn't help when your team-mate runs away with the title either...
However, more often than not, Fabrizio's biggest bugbear was the time it took for him to hit his stride over various weekends. Take Brands Hatch, for example, where Fabrizio was barely a top ten contender, yet managed to sneak in the fastest lap of the weekend in the second race from nowhere.
Miller Motorsports Park and Brno were also case points, with Fabrizio penchant for poor getaways owing to some memorable fight backs that otherwise left many to ponder what could have been if he'd been up there from the beginning. On the flip side, it showed Fabrizio is a fighter to the finish and that he isn't afraid to overtake – particularly if his target is fellow Roman Max Biaggi…
Fabrizio's most frustrating statistic, however, will be the fact he didn't win a race in 2008, a significant faux pas when you are on arguably the best bike in the field. Still, the fact he helped Ducati to two 1-2 finishes (Brno, Portimao) will have helped the likeable Italian maintain his composure in the squad.
Finishing eighth overall in the standings, albeit not too far off sixth, Ducati retain their faith in Fabrizio for 2009, although this time he will be joined by Noriyuki Haga. Still, while Haga will naturally assume team leader status, should a more experienced Fabrizio build on the maturity he displayed at times in 2009, there is no reason to suggest he cannot provide the Japanese rider with a challenge in the garage, as well as on the track.
10th – Michel Fabrizio
Tomorrow: Who will be number nine in the WSBK Rider of the Year poll?