MotoGP

Sponsor working on F1/MotoGP ride swap for Hamilton and Rossi

Energy drinks company Monster aims to arrange a ride swap test for reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and MotoGP star Valentino Rossi.

As a personal sponsor of both Rossi and Hamilton, Monster has been pursuing the possibility of such an event for the past three years, albeit with little success.

However, its status as the Yamaha MotoGP factory team’s new title sponsor, replacing Movistar from 2019 onwards, means it can increase its push to put Hamilton on an M1 bike and Rossi at the wheel of a Mercedes F1 car.

“This possibility has been under consideration for years, but we have not been able to realise it,” a Yamaha spokesman said.

“We’ll see what happens this time. There’s still nothing firm, far from it.”

The contracts of both Rossi and Hamilton theoretically prevent any such ride swap from taking place before the final F1 grand prix of the season, which will be run on December 1 in Abu Dhabi.

Monster had set up a Mercedes F1 run for Rossi’s former team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at Silverstone in 2016.

Lorenzo has since split with Monster and now carries Red Bull branding following his move to Honda.

Red Bull organised a Toro Rosso F1 test for Honda’s reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez and his then team-mate Dani Pedrosa last year.

Hamilton is in Qatar for the MotoGP season opener this weekend as a guest of Mercedes F1 backer Petronas, which sponsors Yamaha’s new satellite team SRT and is also believed to be keen on arranging a ride swap for the F1 champion.

Hamilton tested a World Superbike-spec Yamaha R1 at Jerez last year, running alongside factory riders Sam Lowes and Michael van der Mark.

He said during the Barcelona F1 pre-season test that he was keen on having further bike outings in the near future.

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