Prowl with a pan­ther

The Advertiser - Motoring - - TWO WHEELS - CRAIG DUFF

WHEN he’s not pi­lot­ing a Mercedes race car, For­mula 1 cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton is a mas­sive bike fan and rides on and off road.

His pas­sion led to Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo invit­ing him to ride a Mo­toGP ma­chine — and that could even­tu­ate given Mon­ster En­ergy’s spon­sor­ship of Mercedes F1 and Yamaha.

Rossi says: “Hamil­ton al­ways says to me he wants to come to my ranch and try the mo­tor­cy­cle, but I say to him: ‘You ride a mo­tor­cy­cle, or you have to start from zero?’ He said that he has good skill, he rides a 450 (mo­tocross bike) and ev­ery­thing.’ ”

Lorenzo more prag­mat­i­cally notes: “I think (Hamil­ton) rides some mo­tocross, so with plea­sure I will lend my M1 to him — maybe with a big in­sur­ance!”

Mean­while, Hamil­ton’s been amus­ing him­self by help­ing to craft a lim­ited edi­tion ver­sion of MV Agusta’s stun­ning Drag­ster RR street bike. Pro­duc­tion run will be 244 bikes, all bear­ing Hamil­ton’s sig­na­ture and his race num­ber, 44.

The bike is me­chan­i­cally un­changed from a reg­u­lar 103kW Drag­ster RR but MV Agusta says Hamil­ton as­sisted with “the de­tails, fin­ishes and very ex­clu­sive ac­ces­sories” that con­trib­ute to the $38,880 sticker in Aus­tralia.

Er­gal (a light, strong and costly alu­minium-zinc al­loy) is used in the brake and clutch levers and on the fuel filler cap. The bars, stand, frame and foot­peg plates are matt black and the pearl white high­lights echo Hamil­ton’s hel­met, as does his trade­mark pan­ther em­blem.

Car­bon-fi­bre adds to the cost when formed for the guards, air­box and side cov­ers, ex­haust shields, gear­box and swingarm cov­ers.

The bike rolls on 17-inch rims shod with Pirelli rubber and has eight-stage trac­tion con­trol soft­ware, an eight-way ad­justable steer­ing damper and four-mode en­gine man­age­ment. 6-speed; chain drive

2060mm (L), 825mm (W), 1380mm (WB); Seat height 811mm

43mm in­verted Mar­zoc­chi forks (fr); Sachs monoshock (r); all fully ad­justable

Dual 320mm discs with 4-pis­ton Brembo calipers (fr); 220mm disc with Brembo 2-pis­ton caliper (r); ABS

168kg (dry) 16.6L

Hamil­ton isn’t the first F1 star with his name on an MV Agusta. The fac­tory ded­i­cated two mod­els to Ayr­ton Senna: the F4 750 in 2002 and the F4 1000 in 2006.

Given Mercedes holds a 25 per cent stake in MV Agusta, there’s ev­ery chance the Drag­ster won’t be Hamil­ton’s last pro­ject with the Ital­ian make.

2 years/un­lim­ited km; 2 years road­side as­sist 800cc 3-cyl, 103kW/86Nm

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