5th – Chaz Davies
Average poll score out of ten: 6.6
Ducati 1199 Panigale R
With no chance to get too comfortable on the BMW following the manufacturer's decision to withdraw from the series, Chaz Davies opted to join Ducati over the winter and help turn around the fortunes of the 1199 Panigale R following a disappointing roll-out in 2013.
With Ducati throwing more weight behind its WSBK effort in order to bring the bike up to speed, Davies began the season with heightened expectations and while he didn't quite have the single lap pace of team-mate Davide Giugliano, his more consistent race form often reaped greater reward.
A standout performance at Imola, which yielded a pair of second place finishes – the Panigale's first podiums in the dry – suggested a breakthrough win was in the offing, but as the bike never quite developed into a consistent victory contender against Kawasaki and Aprilia.
Nonetheless, podiums followed in Portimao and Jerez, and although Davies' best shot at victory – around Laguna Seca – was scuppered by a race one crash that ruled him out for the remainder of the day, he was still consistent enough to end the season a creditable sixth.
Indeed, though Davies arguably courted fewer headlines than Giugliano – who often starred in qualifying, only to let himself down in the races -, the Welshman more often than not got the most from the bike and was rightly rewarded by ending the year as 'best of the rest'.
It has also created a solid platform for Ducati to progress in 2015, when the change in regulations is expected to suit the bike. With this in mind, Davies could well be a threat next season…
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009:
Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...
WSBK Rider of the Year poll results so far
6. Davide Giugliano
7. Loris Baz
8. Leon Camier
9. David Salom
10. Alex Lowes
About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' World Championship standings, the WSBK Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.
Over 40,000 votes were cast for the 2014 Crash.net
WSBK Rider of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of the top twenty from this year's WSBK standings with a mark out of ten.