Rossi impressed by “brilliant” Hamilton in F1-Moto GP ride swap

2019 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi have completed their ‘ride swap’.

The six-times Formula 1 world champion and seven-times Moto GP champion exchanged their Mercedes W08 F1 car and Yamaha M1 Moto GP bike respectively at the Valencia Ricardo Tormo circuit.

Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis said he was “very impressed” by Hamilton’s performance.

“How many four-wheel champions could come here and get on an M1, go out there, and do themselves proud?” he said. “It’s very difficult to ride a motorcycle fast on track and even more challenging and demanding to ride a factory Moto GP bike.”

As well as handling each others’ machines, the pair also went lapped on the bikes together. “What stood out to me the most was the moment when he and Valentino were out, really close together, side by side on their M1s,” sad Jarvis. “Lewis has said that he’s been a fan of Moto GP and Valentino for years. It was his wish to ride on track together with Valentino and to have the experience one day to ride an M1, and he got both wishes at the same time.

“It was fantastic to see that even a six-time Formula 1 world champion who has already achieved so many things, can still realise a dream at a special occasion like this.”

Hamilton said it was “so cool to be out on track and see Valentino ahead of me on the same bike.”

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“It’s so awesome to see a legend like Valentino in the car,” he added. “I’m excited for him for discovering the car for the first time. [It] reminds me of my first time in a F1 car. When you see all the team around you, it’s just a different animal.”

Rossi said driving the W08, Mercedes 2017 F1 car, was “a spectacular opportunity for me.”

“I have tried an F1 car before, but much has changed since then,” he added. “Sincerely, I was impressed with the car and its handling, as well as with the Mercedes-AMG motorsport team, who were great to work with. They were very welcoming and made it easy for me to get familiar with the car.

“At first you get an amazing sensation of speed. The G-forces were not so bad, but it takes some getting used to. Once I got into the rhythm I could really push. It was a great pleasure. I felt like a real F1 driver for a day. I didn’t want the day to end.”

Hamilton’s riding impressed Rossi as well. “I also rode the YZR-M1 on track with Lewis,” he said. “It was a proud moment for the team to share our passion with him.

“Technically, Valencia is a hard track, and it was windy, so at one point I thought it could be difficult for Lewis, but he was brilliant on the bike and his position on the M1 was great.

“I really enjoyed sharing this experience with him, and I think he had loads of fun too, demonstrated by how reluctant he was to stop riding! I sincerely hope we will get to have many more experiences like this in the future.”

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Pictures and video: Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi swap rides

Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton, Valencia, 2019
Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton, Valencia, 2019
Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton, Valencia, 2019
Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton, Valencia, 2019

Images: Monster Energy and Lewis Hamilton via social media

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Rossi impressed by “brilliant” Hamilton in F1-Moto GP ride swap”

  1. We need those personalised number logos in F1! We should of had them from the moment the drivers got to choose their own numbers.

  2. Seeing the image credit, I presume this was a Monster Energy initiated publicity event?

    Also, the fluorescent ’46’ on the Merc’s nose looks very neat.

  3. Lewis got the not so good bike while Valentino got the awesome car. If Marquez and Verstappen switched curtesy of Red Bull, it’d be the other way round.

    Maybe they should all race together. Throw Dovi and Charles on those red livered monsters too.

    1. Marquez vs Verstappen with their Red Bull-Hondas, good one!

    2. awesome idea, something like a relay race between these 3 mixed teams would be very cool. Let the bikes go for 10 laps or so, then rush to the pits to pass the “baton” over to their teammates in the F1 cars.

    3. Marquez and Alonso did an event for Honda few years back and Marquez also drove Toro Rosso at Austrian GP. Also I dont think Verstappen has any experience riding bikes unlike Alonso and Hamilton but still it would be a fun event.

  4. The car is W08 (2017) in case anyone’s interested.

    1. This is race We know!

      1. It also says it twice in the article, first in the second sentence none-the-less.

    2. It’s 2m wide and has no halo, duh dude.

  5. Glad they didn’t put inters on for Valentino. That would have been embarrassing

  6. Too bad this was just a publicity stunt, otherwise it would have been quite fun to see a bit of competing times. Both take the bike and car for proper runs and see how far off they get to each others time in same machinery (and also how much faster an F1 car is compared to a MotoGP bike).

    1. @gechichan I’m afraid that would’ve been completely one sided. Back in the day when Rossi tested for Ferrari he made rather competitive times (

      It’s really really hard to imagine Hamilton being able to lap that fast with a MotoGP bike. When he tested the Yamaha R1 in WSBK spec he did a 1:52 in Jerez, which is a great time but still over 10 seconds away from any pro WSBK rider. Plus it’s way easier to get hurt if he crashes.

      To compare an F1 car and a MotoGP bike we can use Montmeló:

      MotoGP pole was 1:39.4 by Quartararo (with a Yamaha).
      F1 pole was 1:15.4 by Bottas

  7. Its a pity these cars and bikes require a team the size of a small town to manage.
    Would have been nice if they could do such often without thinking of that dreaded cost.

  8. Huge Rossi fan here and overall MotoGP fan. If there’s a form of motorsport out there I love more than F1 it’s no doubt MotoGP. The previous swaps that have happened in the past (Hamilton driving Tony Stewart’s NASCAR race car I think was the most recent one before this and JPM driving Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR much over a decade ago), those I think have been less exciting than this. Hamilton and Rossi are easily the most accomplished driver/rider to participate in a swap like this and two of the most popular figures in their respective sports. I knew Hamilton was a pretty good rider in his own right but to be able to push a MotoGP bike on his first outing, it deserves my respect, as much as I’m not his biggest fan in F1. Rossi has prior F1 experience and other 4 wheel motorsport experience and is decently quick, to the point where he was seriously contemplating a full time seat in sports car racing earlier in his career and I’m sure would have done well.

  9. Badassery!

  10. Lewis got the steel brake discs I see, and not the carbonfibre ones.

  11. Very, very cool. It’s a joy to see other people realise their dreams.

  12. Lando has left the chat

  13. John Surtees.

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