Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: 8. Ayrton Badovini

Nationality: Italian Team: BMW Italia Bike: BMW S1000RR Wins: 0 Podiums: 0 Championship points: 165 Championship position: 10th

One of the surprise packages for 2011, Ayrton Badovini proved exactly why he deserves his spot on the World Superbike Championship grid as he emerged as an unexpected rival to Leon Haslam for top BMW status.

Despite making an impression on the Pedercini Kawasaki in 2008, Badovini's career hit a stumbling block in 2009 when his deal with PSG-1 Corse fell through, prompting him to take a substantial step back to the Superstock 1000 series for 2010.

It would prove a shrewd move though, Badovini dominating on the BMW Italia to secure an obvious promotion back to World Superbike level in 2011. Even so, with James Toseland alongside him on satellite machinery, Badovini was by far the least assuming BMW rider on the grid at the start of the season.

An anonymous beginning to the year aside, Badovini hit his stride by Monza, his run to sixth place heralding a magnificent run of form that would see him crack the top ten over each of the next 15 races.

Often progressing up the order beyond his qualifying position, Badovini's riding style appeared well suited to the occasionally troublesome S1000RR and at one stage he was regularly out-scoring 2010 runner-up Leon Haslam on the factory machine.

With Toseland ruled out through injury, Badovini assumed the role of leader with aplomb and steered the burgeoning team to tenth position in the overall standings, ending the season closer to Haslam on points than Troy Corser was to him.

Immensely consistent, only his failure to get on the podium let Badovini's score sheet down in 2011, a clear objective for him heading into the 2012 season with the same team.

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010: N/A Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009: N/A Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2008: 19th

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011:

9. Max Biaggi 10. Noriyuki Haga

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