Reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton says he is “building up” towards a “dream” first MotoGP test, as he accepts he needs more mileage on a racing bike.
Energy drink brand Monster Energy, which sponsors Hamilton as well as the Yamaha factory team, is known to be keen on arranging a ride swap between him and seven-time premier-class champion Valentino Rossi.
But Mercedes F1 sponsor Petronas also has its sights on a MotoGP test for Hamilton.
Hamilton attended MotoGP’s season opener in Qatar as a guest of the Petronas-backed SRT Yamaha team, and has joked he may “nag Petronas to give me a ride on one of their bikes”.
Asked whether a MotoGP run was a target, Hamilton told motogp.com: “100% I’m going to ride one, I’m building up to it.
“I need more days [on a bike] firstly because I’ve only had two and a half kind of days on the track, but eventually I’d love to try a MotoGP bike. That’s the dream.
“I watch it every weekend it’s on. Even when I’m on a grand prix weekend, I’m jumping out of my meetings before and after [F1] qualifying so I can watch the qualifying here.”
Hamilton trialled a Yamaha World Superbike R1 machine in a two-day test at Jerez last year, riding alongside works riders Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes.
Embedded within the Petronas SRT team in Qatar, he was seen sitting in on a post-qualifying debrief for its rider Franco Morbidelli.
“To meet Lewis was a great experience for me,” Morbidelli said. “I enjoyed it a lot, and I was very surprised to see how he is as a person – he’s a great person, very humble, very interested in this sport, very passionate.
“He did many questions about riding, about how is the bike, what you do here, what you do there, how the tyre consumption is.
“It was just nice, and it was a pity to not have enough time to speak more with him. But I enjoyed the moment, and I hope he enjoyed this moment inside the pitbox and to see how the two-wheel riders act.”
Morbidelli’s team-mate Fabio Quartararo, who qualified fifth on his MotoGP debut, said meeting his “F1 idol” Hamilton contributed to what was “one of the most beautiful days of my career”.