1. Valentino Rossi
Championship position: 1st
Again, there were times when you thought he was beaten, but then he fought back to be the champion. See his win in Jerez after a duff start to the year, for example. The magic they found to transform an off the pace Saturday bike to a winner on Sunday was truly amazing. Rossi just has the touch required to turn it around, but for how much longer can he keep doing that before the others suss it all out? That is his trick. As Mick Doohan said, 'It's all about experience.'
Although he fell in three races, all his costly disasters seemed to happen at Le Mans, when it was just not his day at all. Everything went wrong, so he didn't waste time worrying about it and just moved on. Far better to have a bad race early on, then you know it is out of the way, unlike Lorenzo whose bad race was three from the end in Australia. Rossi's luck of falling at Donington but still extending his title lead was just that - luck.
Rossi also clocked up his 100th win at Assen and is now steaming onwards to what must be the target: Giacomo Agostini's 122 wins. And yes, the celebrations are still good whether they're the massive 100 wins banner, the ninth egg being laid, or the donkey helmet (a personal favourite).
He already had a year on Bridgestones so knew what the first season on control tyres would involve, while Yamaha worked hard on not losing much power when the five engines for seven races rule kicked in from Brno.
Rossi also won the Best Qualifier Award and was given a four door BMW M3, but wants to upgrade it to the new M3 GTS. Far more his style. He's now won five Beemers through this prize...
He now has another year on the Yamaha in 2010. Will these Ducati rumours actually come true or is it another crafted plan of his to achieve some other target?
2. Jorge Lorenzo
Championship position: 2nd
With just one exception, Lorenzo was on the podium every time he finished. But the problem was he didn't finish four times to Rossi's two, and yet the difference in points at the end of the year was 45, less than two wins. The two killers so far as Jorge was concerned was that he fell with Donington in his pocket, and crashed out of a certain second place at Brno. There's your 45 points.
But he is so much stronger coming through 2009 than he was after 2008, and even that was hardly bad! It's night and day better in my mind. The first lap crash in Australia was just a 'I'm in a hurry to get back up there after duff qualifying' accident. He won't do that again.
The crew on the Spanish side of the Yamaha wall seem to have rattled the Italian side with accusations of copying of the Lornezo routine of setting things up during practice, making one wonder why Rossi has all these Ducati rumours going.
Lorenzo was offered a truck load of cash by Ducati for 2010 as a fall back for the Bologna lot if Stoner didn't return to full strength. Must have made him feel good.
He has handled a season without his original manager Dani Amatrian well, fighting his own corner personally after being ridiculed by some for stalling his bike on the cool down lap at Motegi.
3. Dani Pedrosa
Championship position: 3rd
In each of his four years with HRC, Pedrosa has won two races - and this year Valencia was a tad lucky after Stoner dropped it. Pedrosa could have done so much better early in the season had he not again crashed in pre-season testing. If he could only start a season fit, he'd have a chance!
Pedrosa won at Laguna, but was lucky to do even that after running tight on gas half a lap from home. He should have won Indy but fell in an odd crash while leading, again raising questions of his physical strength over a 235bhp bike.
He also had a massive tank slapper in practice at Mugello that damaged his hip, causing all sorts of strength issues again, but recovered out of that mid season dark patch to score in every race from Laguna onwards.
One positive for Pedrosa's future is that Shuhei Nakamoto has returned to the HRC fold after time at Brackley with Honda's Formula 1 team and is already looking to make changes, starting with the hiring of Livio Suppo from Ducati to handle commercial income.
4. Casey Stoner
Championship position: 4th
It's a shame that the year will be remembered for him missing three races, and not for making Qatar his own, winning the first ever Italian MotoGP proper for Ducati, winning in Australia 22 seconds ahead of third place and potentially having the speed in Malaysia to have won by 30s.
He flew as always to start with, but then it became apparent that mid-race his strength would wane with a mystery illness causing him to even ask for doctors to be present after the Catalan race while he was still on the grid. It was a testament to Stoner that we then saw him get a podium 45 minutes later.
Returning in Estoril he took it steady having not ridden for nine weeks, but a podium did very nicely and gave Ducati a sigh of relief. The off on the warm-up lap at Valencia was technically operator error, but they've all been down in that corner, including Rossi, there's just something about it.
If the 2010 season was run using 2009 machinery in the state it is in now, Stoner would be the champion.
5. Colin Edwards
Tech 3 Yamaha
Championship position: 5th
The man who was all angry at the start of the year having had his crew chief swapped around with team-mate James Toseland, but who finished best of the rest - and that is quite a position to get in the MotoGP championship table behind those who fly at the top.
To finish ahead of a race winning works Honda is certainly a scalp. Edwards was taken out at Misano, meaning he lost his run of points finishes which was a shame, but he is certainly the Rubens Barrichello of MotoGP now. Can he win one...? Please?
6. Andrea Dovizioso
Championship position: 6th
Dovizioso won his first MotoGP this year so got that monkey off his back. Unfortunately that was his one and only podium, which replicates what he did last year when on a privateer bike. The problem for Dovi was that this year there were so many other quick people at the sharp end. Any other time, he'd be up there on the podium. It was still very frustrating for him to get a string of fourth places and have to go straight back to the garage without much of a media scrum awaiting him.
7. Toni Elias
Championship position: 7th
The enigma that is Toni Elias. A great guy, always smiling and always a journalist's favourite, but you know when he's going to go fast - towards the end of the season when the deals are up for grabs, Brno being the race when he dug in this year. After the race he famously queried why people don't give him a ride, inferring that others have got pots of cash or similar, but he did have a works bike this year, something that can be a help and a hinderance. It may well have been the latter.
8. Alex de Angelis
Championship position: 8th
Living proof that Carl Fogarty's eyes have been transplanted into a current MotoGP rider. After Stoner, de Angelis is one of the bravest riders out there when it comes to sheer balls on a bucking, rooing motorcycle. A second at Indy was good, but skittling Edwards and Hayden a week later at home at Misano was hardly good for his chances of being hired by Ducati for 2010. He should end up with a handy Superbike ride.
9. Loris Capirossi
Championship position: 9th
For the first time since 1992 he didn't get to taste any champers on any podium. That was a shame as he had four fifth places along the way, but you knew that was just Loris' sheer bloody mindedness that fought through rather than the bike's settings being competitive.
The Suzuki seems that have run into problems again with an engine that doesn't work with 100 per cent synergy to the chassis. Maybe if the engine had another 15bhp the chassis would feel different. The five engines for the last seven races also hurt Suzuki, with Capirossi dropping to the back of the grid in Australia and his team-mate Chris Vermuelen waiting for his engine to seize at Valencia.
10. Marco Melandri
Championship position: 10th
Melandri was a victim of the Kawasaki exit debacle, finding himself scrabbling for a ride of some sort. As the Kawasaki was continuing to be tested because they'd booked the circuits and the flights anyway, Melandri did a deal with the Hayate squad that was effectively Kawasaki coming back to avoid a fine from Dorna.
He took second place at Le Mans, but then the development tailed off. There was cruel luck for the likeable Marco at Valencia when a gravel trap excursion meant he dropped from seventh to 10th in the championship table, but even as a one rider operation, Hayate still finished seventh out of 11 in the teams' championship.
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