Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:2. Eugene Laverty
Nationality: IrishTeam: Aprilia RacingBike: Aprilia RSV4Wins: 9 Podiums: 19Championship points: 424Championship position: 2nd

Having come good on the Aprilia during the closing stages of the 2012 season, Eugene Laverty began 2013 looking to firm his credentials as the man capable of succeeding Max Biaggi as both team leader and world champion.

To a point, Laverty's route to the runners-up spot with nine race wins would appear to suggest a job well done, but many - including the man himself - realise the bumps along that route were pivotal in him falling just short of the title.

Indeed, for the most part, Laverty would showcase the blistering pace of a champion in 2013, but while there was no doubting his race winning speed, the Irishman spent the early part of the season negating it with frustrating DNFs, both mechanical and self-inflicted.

It meant Laverty spent much of his year playing catch up and, despite having four wins to his name as the season entered its closing stages, his title hopes had been all-but-discounted, at least in comparison to the far more consistent Sylvain Guintoli and the less incident prone Tom Sykes.

It is therefore to Laverty's credit that his determination never abated and 11 podiums in the final 12 races (including five wins) was testament to his attitude to take the battle down to the final event and fight until it was mathematically impossible for him to stay in contention....

Indeed, while his outstanding second-half to the season - which ensured he matched Sykes for race wins and even exceeded his podium tally - is admittedly tempered by a feeling of 'what could have been' had he not tipped off at Aragon, Imola, Moscow or Nurburgring, his double wins at Istanbul and Jerez (not least 'that' last corner pass on Melandri) will at least serve as positive memories.

Glancing ahead, 2014 heralds a new direction for Laverty after his original MotoGP plans failed to come to fruition, leading him to accept a ride with Fixi Crescent Suzuki. While the 'carrot' of a MotoGP ride in 2015 may or may not have been the impetus to take on a bike that hasn't won a race since 2010, there will be plenty of attention trained on him when the season gets back underway...

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012: 7thTop 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: 2ndTop 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010: N/ATop 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009: N/ATop 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2008: N/A

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:

3. Sylvain Guintoli4. Chaz Davies5. Marco Melandri6. Loris Baz7. Jonathan Rea8. Davide Giugliano9. Toni Elias10. Leon Camier

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


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