Prowl with a panther
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