Neil Hodgson says the allure of riding a Yamaha R1 in the British Superbike Championship was temptation enough to embark on a return to the series he last raced in almost a decade ago.
The former World Superbike Champion has signed to race the Rob Mac Racing-prepared Motorpoint Yamaha in 2010, marking his first season competing in the national Superbike series since winning the title in 2000.
Hodgson's reappearance at BSB level comes after four seasons spent in the AMA Superbike series, a tenure in which he was unable to replicate his title-winning form from WSBK.
After a year spent mostly on the sidelines when a Motocross accident left him with a dislocated shoulder and a collapsed lung – an injury that continues to hamper him eight months on - Hodgson has decided to sign up for a new challenge by switching from Honda in AMA to Yamaha in BSB.
"I am currently in America as I have been seeing my surgeon and physio for my shoulder injury and they are really happy with the healing progress, so although I won't be completely one hundred percent when we start testing I definitely will be back to full fitness by next year,” he told the BSB website.
“I can't wait to move back to BSB and the UK; at the end of the day I have raced on the world stage and in the States and now I want to come back to where it all started and there is definitely a good feeling on coming home.”
With the new-for-2009 Yamaha R1 proving the bike to beat on both the international and domestic Superbike stage this year, Hodgson is excited about the opportunity to ride a competitive machine having struggled on the Honda.
"It certainly wasn't a difficult decision for me to come back to BSB next season, especially with Yamaha as that has been the bike to win on this year. It has been successful in BSB with Leon (Camier) and James (Ellison) and also in AMA with Ben (Bostrom) and Josh (Hayes), then that doesn't include on the world stage with Ben (Spies) and Cal (Crutchlow).
“I spoke to Ben and Josh about it and I know that we can make it work for us next season as it should really suit my smooth riding style, much like the Ducati used to.”