1 JORGE LORENZO
Championship position: 2nd (330 points)
Fastest laps: 3
It may not have ended with a third world championship crown, but this was a superlative year that confirmed Lorenzo's status as the class of the MotoGP field.
It wasn't just the way he battled back from injury to win five of the final seven races, and therefore take the title down to the wire, that was so resounding; it was the manner in which he did so, on a Yamaha that was often clearly slower than its Honda counterpart. For evidence of that look no further than Valentino Rossi, who finished almost 100 points adrift of a championship fight Lorenzo was in the thick of.
The Italian's Yamaha return was also an emphatic validation of Lorenzo's brilliance: discounting for injury, the Italian outperformed his team-mate just once all season, in qualifying at Sepang.
That Lorenzo didn't win the title was in no small part down to his crashes - and injuries - at Assen and the Sachsenring. Admittedly both were of his own making, but Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were also guilty of their own errors in a season where the title hopefuls simply couldn't let up.
An absence in Germany, and injury-restricted rides in the Netherlands and the US, meant the title race was in danger of becoming a formality in Britain, only for Lorenzo to clinch victory on the final corner of a thrilling race. Over the final seven races he outgunned Marquez by 40 points, while his control in the Valencia finale was so absolute that he even had the audacity to try to back up the field to force Marquez into trouble.
As much as the victories, it was his approach to the races that underlined his brilliance: forced to ride hard early, when he is able to push harder than anyone else, Lorenzo's task across the season at large was to establish a gap the Hondas wouldn't be able to recover. He was, quite literally, setting the standard for others to match up to.
2 MARC MARQUEZ
Championship position: 1st (334 points)
Fastest laps: 10
In 125cc and Moto2 there were suspicions that Marquez might be too good to be true - or at least legal. His margin over the field at times was such that sceptics were sure it had to come from a, perhaps illicit, equipment advantage. Not true. His astounding rookie MotoGP title proved beyond doubt that Marquez really is that good.
The statistics are breathtaking: champion at the first attempt, a spell of four straight wins in the summer, on the podium for each of the 16 races he finished, and first or second on the grid for 11 of the final 12 rounds. Experienced team-mate Dani Pedrosa began the year as title favourite, and ended it utterly overshadowed.
Beyond the numbers, it was the manner in which Marquez settled in that made the biggest impression. No qualms at all about going elbow-to-elbow with the legends from the outset, and capable of absolutely dominating only his second weekend.
The flaws were few. Yes, he was sometimes too fearless and too physical in battle, but no more so than Lorenzo was when the title was on the line. Conversely, sometimes he was too timid in the early laps of the races.
And while Marquez had injuries of his own following the massive Mugello and Silverstone crashes, the huge part that Lorenzo's wounds played in the championship outcome cannot be underestimated. There was a 59-point swing to Marquez in the six races where Lorenzo was recovering. But even if his crown owed a little to others' broken bones, Marquez still deserves all the eulogies coming his way.
3 DANI PEDROSA
Championship position: 3rd (300 points)
Fastest laps: 4
What to make of a year when Pedrosa started as a title favourite but ended up comprehensively outclassed by his rookie team-mate?
This was something of a deceptive season for the 28-year-old, where his successes were easily overlooked. Over the first six races he led Marquez 4-2 in qualifying and the races, and was 30 points ahead in the championship. But then, as has so often been the case in his career, his luck turned sour.
A heavy crash at the Sachsenring broke his collarbone and effectively destroyed his title hopes. He never recovered from the blow: in the final 10 races he didn't once head Marquez in qualifying, and only beat him once on race day. Marquez was irrepressible, Pedrosa listless. When the pair clashed bizarrely at Aragon, it was the younger Spaniard who profited, and Pedrosa who ended the race on his back.
That fall contributed to him falling 34 points shy of the title, while his disappointing run-in meant it was easy to forget he once led the championship. So is Marquez's dominance now the natural order between the pair? Was Pedrosa's early supremacy simply a consequence of Marquez learning the ropes?
There remains a suspicion that 2013 is Pedrosa's career in a nutshell; that, despite his obvious talent, he could retire without ever winning a title. It will be fascinating, and perhaps crucial, to see if he can buck that and reassert himself as a title contender next year.
4 CAL CRUTCHLOW
Team: Tech 3 Yamaha
Championship position: 5th (188 points)
Fastest laps: 0
Two poles and five other front row starts were triumphs of raw pace and brutal determination on a Tech 3 Yamaha that should have been behind its factory counterparts and the works Hondas. That equipment deficit often left Crutchlow viscerally disgruntled, as did Yamaha's pursuit of Pol Espargaro to replace him.
There were plenty of mistakes, particularly on Saturdays. Those bruising shunts contributed to some of his race-day fades as he could not overcome the pain barrier over a longer distance in the same way he could grit his teeth for a heroic qualifying lap.
He too often lost ground at starts and over opening laps, yet once up to speed he was quick enough to come close to victory in France and Germany.
Crutchlow has settled far better than recent seasons' other Superbike converts and is quick enough to be a MotoGP winner. Whether he can become one on a Ducati in the Italian team's current state is a much bigger ask.
5 ALEIX ESPARGARO
Team: Aspar Aprilia (CRT)
Championship position: 11th (93 points)
Fastest laps: 0
At times it was possible to forget Aleix Espargaro was on CRT machinery this year.
The Spaniard obliterated his rivals, claiming class honours in all but four races and finishing with more than double the points of his nearest challengers. A second CRT crown was just reward.
More than that, though, he and he alone managed to regularly bridge the gap between MotoGP's soon-to-be-extinct second tier and the satellite riders. Twice - at the Sachsenring and at Misano - he managed to qualify on the second row, while on four other occasions he cracked the top nine. He managed it on race day too, even running as high as third early on in Germany.
His race record versus Aspar team-mate Randy de Puniet stood at 17-2; his qualifying record one better in his favour. A move to Forward Racing, and a switch onto Yamaha prototype machinery, beckons for 2014. Another year like this and his case for a full satellite move will be increasingly compelling.
6 STEFAN BRADL
Team: LCR Honda
Championship position: 7th (156 points)
Fastest laps: 0
Honda was wondering if Bradl had done enough to keep its support for another MotoGP season as his 2013 campaign got off to a muted start. Those doubts proved the cue for Bradl to raise his game and eventually supplant Crutchlow as the satellite rider most likely to annoy the big guns.
When Lorenzo and Pedrosa were injured and below-par at Laguna Seca, it was Bradl who stepped up to fight Marquez, beating him to pole and heading him for half the race before having to accept second.
He should have finished right on Crutchlow's tail in the points but for the unlucky Sepang practice crash in which his ankle became caught in some loose astroturf, turning an innocuous spill into a painful injury that sidelined him for two races. That also dropped him behind Alvaro Bautista, probably Bradl's true benchmark as the other satellite Honda man, in the points. There's still more to come from Bradl over the next few years.
7 VALENTINO ROSSI
Championship position: 4th (237 points)
Fastest laps: 1
This was a year that promised so much but delivered so little for Rossi; a year that ended his long win drought and yet still thrust him closer to the precipice of retirement.
It started so well, as the seven-time champion finished second to Lorenzo in Qatar. But from then on he struggled, outclassed by his team-mate and unable to take the fight to the Hondas. Only three times did he outqualify Lorenzo, and only once when the Spaniard was fully fit, at Sepang. Twice he beat him in races, but again only when Lorenzo was nursing his collarbone at Assen and Laguna Seca.
It was at Assen that he triumphed, ending a near three-year wait, but as Rossi himself acknowledged it was tainted by others' broken bones.
As the season progressed Rossi fell back, his clear deficit to the top three often emphasised by the time spent fighting the likes of Alvaro Bautista for fourth. That dynamic led to a shock split at Valencia with long-term crew chief Jerry Burgess, and prompted the declaration that the first six races of 2014 will determine his MotoGP future.
So can the Doctor fix the rot? Will a personnel change reinvigorate the heir apparent to the greatest of all time title? Or has the switch from Ducati to Yamaha, and therefore more competitive machinery, highlighted the fact the Italian can no longer resist the ravages of time?
8 ALVARO BAUTISTA
Team: Gresini Honda
Championship position: 6th (171 points)
Fastest laps: 0
A solid season from Bautista. Finishing all bar two races, and each time in the top seven, showed he had reduced his tendencies for mistakes - though taking Rossi into the wall with him on lap one at Mugello was a pretty spectacular exception.
Satellite Honda peer Bradl had more headline-grabbing highs, but Bautista had his moments too, hanging with the lead pack early on in several races, coming within a few tenths of reaching the podium at Laguna and Aragon, and getting a couple of front row starts.
Again the need to run on Showa suspension when the factory Hondas were on Ohlin equipment did not help Bautista. He also suffers from comparisons to the late Marco Simoncelli's achievements at Gresini in 2011. Taking the much-missed Italian's truncated breakthrough year out of the equation, Bautista is right where you'd expect a Gresini Honda to be in most races.
9 ANDREA DOVIZIOSO
Championship position: 8th (140 points)
Fastest laps: 0
Moving to Ducati for 2013 was always likely to limit Dovizioso's horizons, but this was nevertheless a strong season for the Italian.
He started particularly well, dragging his Desmosedici to front rows at Le Mans and Mugello - places it had no right to be. In fact France was his crowing glory: in difficult conditions he seized the initiative and led early on, battled back to the front of the field after being passed by Dani Pedrosa, and had even built a healthy lead before mistakes dropped him down to third. Being picked off by Marc Marquez on the penultimate lap, and therefore coming home fourth, was an unbecoming end.
Inevitably such rides were the exception rather than the norm, and the Italian regressed back to Ducati's mean as the season progressed. Only once in the final 12 races did he make it past the third row in qualifying, and he never again broke into the top six.
That said, he still comfortably outperformed team-mate Nicky Hayden on Saturdays and Sundays - realistically all he could do given the limitations of the bike. It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Crutchlow next year, even if neither is likely to break free from the midfield with any regularity.
10 BRADLEY SMITH
Team: Tech 3 Yamaha
Championship position: 10th (116 points)
Fastest laps: 0
The only thing wrong with Smith's MotoGP rookie season was that it coincided with Marquez's.
Smith did exactly what you'd expect a decent newcomer to do: quiet at first, a few mistakes, but steady improvement relative to a more experienced team-mate.
Nine places further up the championship table, though, Marquez was redefining what was possible for a debutant. Smith's mature acknowledgement that Marquez was in another league was to his credit. It would have been fatuous to claim that only their equipment set them apart, but many would have grasped for that excuse in the same circumstances.
Instead Smith measured himself against 'normal' rookie standards, and as the gap to Crutchlow diminished considerably, he scored well on that front. Now he faces Espargaro - Yamaha's new chosen one - and expectations will be higher given Smith's experience advantage.