Having asked you to vote for the MotoGP and British Superbike personality you think deserved to be crowned as your top rider of 2008, it is the turn for Crash.net to countdown the World Superbike top ten, as voted for by you!

Of the three polls, this is arguably the most hotly contested, not least because we gave you a total of 25 riders to rate out of ten.

Having totted up their average scores from almost 25,000 votes, we will be revealing your World Superbike order over the next ten days, with the winner being announced on Friday 19th December.

WSBK Rider of the Year - Seventh place:

Name: Carlos ChecaNationality: SpanishTeam: Ten Kate HondaBike: Honda CBR1000RRWins: 2 Podiums: 7Championship points: 313Championship position: 4th

Of all the movers and shakers during the off-season between 2007 and 2008, Carlos Checa's arrival at Ten Kate Honda was probably the most talked about.

Although the Spaniard's name is synonymous with motorcycle racing, after a few years of being moved from team-to-team in MotoGP with minimal success, Checa tried a different tack in 2008 by switching to Superbikes.

A bold move for reigning champions Ten Kate, while Checa certainly had the necessary kudos to replace James Toseland, the transition from MotoGP to Superbikes has proven to be 'hit and miss' in the past with those coming from prototypes to production bikes.

As it happens, Checa adapted very well to the rigours of the WSBK Championship as he quickly rediscovered his motivation for the sport when he stood on the podium for the first time in three years in only his fourth race.

His crowning moment, however, will be his masterful performance at Miller Motorsports Park when he dominated qualifying before recovering from two tardy starts to win both races comprehensively. His first win in a decade, Checa briefly rallied to be Troy Bayliss' closest competitor for the title at the mid-way point in the season.

Frustratingly for Checa, just as it looked like he was beginning to get on a roll, the Ten Kate team simply fell off the pace for the next few rounds. Although Checa stayed in touch with a handful of top five results, they weren't the race wins that he needed to ever mount a realistic title challenge.

Even so, with fourth position in the standings, Checa ended the season as the top Superbike 'rookie' and he even earned a ticket back into the MotoGP fray with the stillborn Aspar project before penning an extension to remain with Ten Kate.

All in all then, it was good year for Checa... so why has he been voted in three positions lower than where he finished? His 'error' at Valencia could very well answer that question.

Indeed, Checa never quite shook off the stigma from his misdemeanour in Spain when a desperate move on Max Neukirchner at the final corner of the last lap resulted in them both coming down. It was particularly galling for Neukirchner, though, as the accident denied him a maiden win having led from the start, and even broke his collarbone.

It means Checa sits in the lower reaches of your top ten for now. Nonetheless, as a favourite for the 2009 title, he may well feature higher next year...

7th - Carlos Checa8th - Max Biaggi9th - Jakub Smrz10th - Michel Fabrizio

Tomorrow: Who will be number six in the WSBK Rider of the Year poll?



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