Rob McElnea says he is delighted to be offering Jon Kirkham the opportunity to return to the ViSK.com British Superbike Championship as the long-term replacement for Michael Rutter.

Kirkham makes his return to the team, with whom he made a guest appearance at the end of the 2008 season as a deputy for Karl Harris, having severed his ties with the Jentin Yamaha team he began the year with.

Taking up the North West 200 Coca-Cola Zero Yamaha as vacated by Rutter after just two rounds, McElnea is confident Kirkham will capitalise on the significant strides made by the team in recent races.

"It was a shame that we did not continue with Michael but the opportunity for us to sign Jon as a replacement has worked out great," he said. "Jon will give this chance his best shot and we should get to see his potential, we are making big steps with the new bike and hopefully he will benefit from the work all the team have put in so far this season.

"Friday morning at Snetterton will be John's first ride on his new bike, it will be a sharp learning curve for him but with we are confident of a strong result and a good showing for the North West Coca Cola Yamaha team."

Reigning Henderson R1 Cup champion Kirkham, who missed the recent Thruxton round of the series, is currently classified 19th in the standings with 15 points.