Carlos Checa has expressed his gratitude to readers for voting him as the 2011 World Superbike Rider of the Year.

The Spaniard enjoyed a remarkable 2011 campaign aboard the Althea Ducati, winning 15 races - the highest single-season total since Doug Polen in 1991 - and claiming the title over Marco Melandri with three races remaining.

Checa's dominance is expressed by your decision to award him with's WSBK Rider of the Year with an average score of 9.3 out of 10, well ahead of Eugene Laverty in second place on 8.3 out of 10.

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"First of all, thanks very much," said Checa on learning of the result. "I'm very happy to have been voted number one! It comes at the end of an incredible year in every sense, with so much emotion both on and off the track.

"It's always great to win prizes but what I appreciate even more is the affection of the public, and so the fact that your readers voted me 'rider of the year' is very special! Happy holiday everyone - I'm looking forward to seeing you back at the tracks in 2012!"

Checa will attempt to defend his WSBK title in 2012 with Althea Ducati.