10. Sylvain Guintoli

When Sylvain Guintoli looks back at his first season in the World Superbike Championship, he can view it in two ways.

On the one hand, he was superbly consistent, didn't retire from a single race (his Magny-Cours exclusion excepted) and ended the year seventh overall. On the other hand, he didn't once make it onto the podium, let alone win.

Indeed, there is so much to be said about Guintoli's return to the international stage season, the Frenchman emerging as the second-best placed rookie behind Cal Crutchlow - a man who had greater knowledge of the circuits being visited - and ahead of Michel Fabrizio and James Toseland by the season's end.

However, even in Guintoli's own words when interviewed by Crash.net earlier this year, finishing seventh 'is a bit crap', the former MotoGP rider instead keen to show he was progressing as the season wore on.

While that self-progression may have been slightly in vain when coupled to Suzuki's apparent lack of interest in developing its title-contending GSX-R1000, Guintoli proved he belonged in World Superbikes with his ability to stay upright, while he showed on several occasions that he could produce the results when it mattered.

With this in mind, it is a shame he isn't staying with Suzuki in 2011 as he arguably did enough to earn the seat, though he has at least landed somewhere in the form of Liberty Ducati.

When you consider he was the least experienced factory-supported Superbike rider on the grid, Guintoli was certainly a welcome - and popular - addition this season.

Statistics:

Team: Suzuki Alstare Bike: Suzuki GSX-R1000

Championship position: 7th Points: 197

Race starts: 26 Pole positions: 0 Victories: 0 Podiums: 0 Best results: 4th (Phillip Island, Brno, Magny-Cours) Points finishes: 25

Crash.net's WSBK Top 10

10. Sylvain Guintoli