Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013: 9. Toni Elias
Nationality: Spaniard Team: Red Devils Roma Aprilia Bike: Aprilia RSV4 Wins: 0 Podiums: 0 Championship points: 70 Championship position: 16th

He may have only been present for the final four rounds of the 2013 World Superbike Championship, but Toni Elias made enough of an impact in those eight races to forge a potential new path in his long career and secure ninth position in your end of year vote.

A former Moto2 champion and MotoGP race winner, while Elias's unforeseen decision to join World Superbikes during the latter stages of 2013 was certainly met with a smattering of surprise, few argued against a general consensus that we'd probably already seen the best of a rider who had spent the last few seasons embroiled in the Moto2 mid-pack.

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However, it is easy to forget that this is a man with 17 GP wins to his name - including his grandstand MotoGP win in Portugal in 2006 - and while success has been few and far between in recent seasons, those are statistics not to be ignored.

That said, from the moment Elias threw his leg across the fast, agile Aprilia RSV4, the Spaniard might have pondered why he didn't favour a switch to World Superbikes earlier...

Joining the privateer Red Devils Roma team, though Elias actually came into the final rounds with a minor advantage over many of his WSBK rivals in terms of circuit knowledge (Istanbul Park, Laguna Seca and Jerez were mostly new for WSBK, but not for MotoGP alumni), he still made his debut in Turkey having never ridden the RSV4. His subsequent top three result in first free practice simultaneously turned heads, raised eyebrows and dropped jaws.

Such was the immediacy of Elias's pace, many fancied him to notch up podiums before season was out, but the pint-size racer would find the intricacies of race set-up to be somewhat more of a challenge than wringing out speed over a single lap.

Nonetheless, Elias - no doubt conditioned by his time racing in the notoriously boisterous Moto2 mid-field - showed little hesitance in going bar-to-bar with his new rivals, clashing with Davide Giugliano on his debut and remonstrating with Vincent Philippe following a collision that he actually caused.

Three top five results are an enticing hint of what is to come for Elias, suggesting he could well be the latest to follow in the footsteps of other MotoGP-turned-WSBK front runners before him like Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri. Furthermore, in the absence of the retired Checa, Dorna would no doubt like to see Elias flying the flag for Spain in 2014 too...

It's a shame then that Elias's options for 2014 look fairly slim at the moment as rumours of Red Devils Roma's financially-determined demise gather pace. An EVO Kawasaki is apparently an option, but Elias wants to fight for race wins... and given he seems more than capable of doing so, you cannot blame him.

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012: N/A Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: N/A 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: N/A

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013: 10. Leon Camier

Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...