9 - Randy de Puniet

Randy de Puniet's fifth season in MotoGP brought ninth in the championship and ninth in our top ten, but it wasn't his final points ranking that impressed us.

Instead it was his excellent form in the first seven races of the year, prior to his broken leg in Germany.

The satellite LCR Honda rider was joint fourth in the championship at the time of his broken leg, ahead of Casey Stoner, and had qualified on the front row - as the top RCV rider - at the three previous events.

In the first seven races, de Puniet took five top-six finishes and a best of fourth place.

de Puniet then showed considerable bravery in returning to MotoGP less than a month after breaking his leg, finishing tenth on his return at Brno.

But the injury hampered him for the rest of the season and he took only one further top-six finish.

In terms of both points and position, 2010 was still de Puniet's best ever in MotoGP - despite missing a race.

de Puniet scored 69 points from the first seven races and, if he'd been able to maintain that strike rate, Randy would have finished the year with 177 points. That's one point more than Ben Spies, the top satellite rider, in sixth.

We're not saying that would have happened, but it indicates what might have been possible without the injury.

Either way, de Puniet only needed nine points more to finish as the top satellite Honda rider in 2010. That instead went to Gresini's Marco Simoncelli, although the Italian rookie had a factory-spec bike.

de Puniet's form on his Pramac Ducati debut at the Valencia test further underlined his natural two-wheeled talent.

Statistics - Randy de Puniet:

Team: LCR Honda MotoGPBike: Honda RC212V

Championship position: 9thPoints: 116

Race starts: 17 (out of 18)Pole positions: 0Victories: 0Podiums: 0Fastest laps: 0Best result: 4th (Catalunya)Points finishes: 15

Crash.net's Top 10 MotoGP riders of 2010:
9. Randy de Puniet
10. Alvaro Bautista