With a testing ban in place and a chance to rest after a long season, the FIM Gala held in Estoril last weekend was more than a little inconvenient for the MotoGP riders.
So much so, in fact, that world champion Casey Stoner elected to skip the backslapping ceremony altogether, leaving the federation to hold their grand prize-giving event without the title winner of their most prestigious series.
So, in time-honoured minor awards ceremony fashion, allow me to introduce the unofficial 'Full Gas Awards'.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Casey Stoner cannot be here this evening - and he won't even be sending a video message from beside the pool. But join us for our light-hearted anointing of the great and the good from 2011."
*Note: I think we all know what the worst moment of 2011 was - but let's try and keep the mood upbeat for this one.
Rider of the year
Ah, this one is a little awkward. Stoner isn't in attendance but we couldn't fob the award off on anyone else - such was the difference between the Australian and the rest of the MotoGP grid.
You've heard the reasons before: 10 wins, 12 pole positions, 16 podiums and comprehensive race victories on a new bike. There can be no argument that Stoner was the standout man of 2011, not least because he was the only one of this season's race winners not to miss a round.
It would almost have been tempting to award the prize to Jorge Lorenzo, had he kept Stoner honest on a comparatively underpowered Yamaha, but his inactivity in the final third of the campaign and the world champion's undeniable dominance mean that there could only be one winner.
Not that he was perfect. The complaints about other riders following him are okay - hitting them in the arm isn't.
Race of the year
There's a lot to like about Laguna Seca. Colin Edwards rolls out the famous T-shirt gun, Yamaha bring along their MotoGP legends to give the event a bit of prestige and all-American cuisine is on hand in the form of that Californian favourite the Frog Dog ('One jumbo American sausage in a premium French baguette', according to the circuit announcer).
This year's race was the best of a bad bunch, a contest that provided spectacular highlights rather than a breathless 40 minutes of action. Still, the moments that we saw were among the best of the season: home rider Ben Spies locking horns with Valentino Rossi, two contenders for pass of the year by Stoner on the approach to the Corkscrew and on turn two - to get by Pedrosa and Lorenzo, respectively - and one of the only times in which the Repsol Honda rider had to get past both of his main rivals in a spell no longer than a couple of laps. The latter manoeuvre on Lorenzo also takes the prize for overtake of the season.
Other contenders come from the lower cylinder classes, in particular the Moto2 thriller at Aragon, but the premier class brings the prestige and thus edges it out.
Breakthrough rider of the year
This one has to go to the 125cc category and to the rider making everyone feel that little bit older. I'd first been made aware of Maverick Viñales at the post-race test at Valencia way back in 2007, mainly because it was Scott Redding's first 125cc run-out for Blusens Aprilia and Viñales had decided to nab the Briton's brand new helmet spray and cloths when they shared a testing garage.
In 2011 the Spaniard showed the same kind of ruthlessness on track, with four race wins, three pole positions and the coolest brush-off of a hysterical heiress you're ever likely to see on the grid at Valencia. Which brings us to our final award...
Tweeter of the year
Chalk up another mention for Paris Hilton, who took MotoGP to the masses with her updates from 'The MotoGP Grand Finals'. The words 'Paris Hilton', 'spread' and 'internet' might be something to Google when family members are out of the room, but the rather misinformed updates provided by the American at least brought motorsport to an audience who would never have heard of MotoGP, were it not mixed in as part of a daily dose of mind-numbing party updates and fashion tips.
However, @valeyellow46 picks up the award after picking up thousands of followers within hours of arriving on Twitter - where he has already begun a rivalry with frequent foe and even more frequent tweeter, Jorge Lorenzo, via the PS3 Gran Turismo game.
The only person running him close is the guy who continually tweets me with unsubstantiated rumours that 'Casey Stoner shoves cabbages up his bottom'. It's probably just as well that Stoner won't be at the post-awards banquet, then.