Motorpoint Yamaha team principal Rob McElnea has admitted even he didn't think it was possible to secure former British and World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson for the 2010 BSB season.
“We talked with Neil earlier in the year but never really thought we would be able to secure him. We are one of the smaller teams and on paper not had the best of runs, but Neil saw the passion and commitment from within my team and wanted to be part of that,” he explained.
“He wants to come home and enjoy himself while battling for the championship and my team needed this motivation for the winter after a tough season. Neil has really got us all jumping and we cannot wait to see him on our bike,” added McElnea.
Hodgson's move was also greeted with surprise outside of McElnea's team - since the highest placed Motorpoint Yamaha rider, Chris Walker, was just ninth in the 2009 BSB standings, with one podium.
Nevertheless, Hodgson was convinced by the atmosphere and enthusiasm within the team.
“I know they have had a tough time, but they have been around for many years and had some great times, I want to bring those Mackenzie days back and have some fun!” said Hodgson, who has been racing in America since 2005.
“Niall was very influential with my decision to join Rob, he is a very good friend of mine and I know he really had a great twilight time of his career with Rob's team when he returned for GPs and I want some of that!”
Meanwhile, Dan Linfoot is looking forward to riding alongside Hodgson in 2010.
“To have Neil in our team is incredible and I know we will get on great,” said Linfoot. “I know he is keen to help me learn the Superbike and with a bit of luck we can give Rob and the boys a year they deserve.”