Lewis Hamilton: Riding a MotoGP bike is 'the dream'
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton says riding a MotoGP bike is his “dream”, and that he will “100 percent” sample premier class machinery.
Five-times F1 title winner Hamilton, a self-confessed motorcycle fan, spent two days at Jerez last year riding a World Superbike-spec Yamaha R1 with the marque's WSBK riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, and was said to have impressed.
This week, rumours surfaced a potential machinery swap between Hamilton and works Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi organised by the pair's sponsor Monster Energy could take place at the end of this year.
Attending this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix as a guest of the Petronas Sepang Racing Team, Hamilton said he is “building up” to riding a MotoGP bike, but needs “more days” on a circuit first.
In an interview with motogp.com, he said: “100 percent, I'm gonna ride one. I'm building up to it.
“I've only had two days on a bike on a track. Actually, not last year but the year before, I did one day in somewhere else in Spain, and that was just on a rental bike, R1.
“And then I finally bought a bike and I rode that last December, but only for two days. So I need more days firstly, because I've only had two-and-a-half days on the track.
“But eventually I would love to try a MotoGP bike, that's the dream.
“I watch it every weekend, every weekend it's on, even when I'm in a grand prix weekend, I'm jumping out of my meetings before and after qualifying so I can watch the qualifying here.”
Hamilton also joked the partnership between himself and SRT with Petronas – a key sponsor and supplier of Mercedes in F1 – now means he can “nag” the company “to give me a ride on their bikes pretty much any time I want”.
In 2016, Monster organised a test for then-Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo at Silverstone in a 2014-spec Mercedes F1 car as a parting gift for the three-time world champion before his departure to Ducati.
More famously, Rossi completed several tests in a Ferrari F1 challenger between 2004 and 2010 as he floated the idea of switching series.
Rossi was also called up by Ferrari to replace the absent Felipe Massa at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, but turned down the offer as he was still battling for that year's MotoGP title.