4. Cal Crutchlow

When reviewing Cal Crutchlow's first season in the World Superbike Championship, the outcome has much to do with perspective.

On the one hand, some will say he didn't make the most of riding the 2009 title-winning bike, while his remarkable six pole positions simply highlight the fact he only converted them (twelve in all) into three race wins.

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Then again, this was Crutchlow's first season in World Superbikes, overall he was faster than his double world championship winning team-mate James Toseland and there are question marks as to whether Yamaha even had a bike capable of matching its 2009 successes.

Shrugging off indifferent pre-season testing results, Crutchlow hinted at what was to come during the season opener with a fine front row start, though a fall and a ninth place finish in Australia didn't exactly get the reigning World Supersport Champion's year off to a perfect start.

With Portimao hosting the first of his many pole positions, Crutchlow turned it into a maiden WSBK podium in race two, albeit only after crashing in race one.

Further podiums followed at Monza, Miller Motorsports Park and Brno, but it was hard to ignore the fact that Crutchlow, while outstanding over one lap, was not translating it over a longer distance, the Briton pointing to inconsistencies in tyre wear as the reason for not getting on top of the podium as yet.

Still, if Crutchlow was going to break his duck, he at least did it in style with a double victory from pole position on home soil at Silverstone, the first act of a strong end to a season that included a third triumph at Magny-Cours.

Placing him fifth in the standings - just 13 points adrift of third position -, Crutchlow went a long way to living up to expectations in 2010. Indeed, while his victory tally may not have matched his pole position record, Crutchlow's single lap pace should not be counted against him.

With this in mind, more about Crutchlow's status as Britain's best motorcycling hope will become clearer when he makes his MotoGP debut in 2011...

Statistics:

Team: Yamaha Sterilgarda Bike: Yamaha YZF-R1

Championship position: 5th Points: 284

Race starts: 26 Pole positions: 6 Victories: 3 Podiums: 10 Best results: 1st (Silverstone, Magny-Cours) Points finishes: 22

Crash.net's WSBK Top 10

4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Jonathan Rea
6. Leon Camier
7. Tom Sykes
8. Troy Corser
9. Noriyuki Haga
10. Sylvain Guintoli