Current Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi completed an unprecedented swap of their 2017 Mercedes-AMG title winning car and 2019 Monster Energy Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.
Rossi and Hamilton have never been shy in their admiration for one another, and linked up for one of the most anticipated moments for race fans around the world.
The occasion was a special one for both men, who completed several stints together while serving as mentors during their track time.
This is not Hamilton’s first experience on a Yamaha as he spent a two-day test with Alex Lowes and Michael Van Der Mark in 2018 on a Yamaha R1.
The British driver was in awe of riding alongside Rossi, but first described what it was like seeing the nine-time champion in his Mercedes:”It’s so awesome to see a legend like Valentino in the car.
“I‘m excited for him for discovering the car for the first time. Reminds me of my first time in a F1 car. When you see all the team around you, it‘s just a different animal.”
“It was so cool to be out on track and see Valentino ahead of me on the same bike.”
Rossi’s last test in an F1 car came almost a decade ago, when he tested a Ferrari F2008 at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Both stars have enjoyed sustained success over the course of their careers, with Hamilton looking for his fourth consecutive championship in 2020 and seventh overall, while Rossi will be hoping Yamaha can produce a bike that sees a prolonged title challenge.
The Italian spoke in great detail about his time in the 2017 Mercedes saying: “I was already a big fan of Lewis before, but now even more.
We had a fantastic day, where the two top classes of motorsports not only met but worked together. Trying the W08 was a spectacular opportunity for me. I have tried an F1 car before, but much has changed since then.
“Sincerely, I was impressed with the car and its handling, as well as with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team, who were great to work with. They were very welcoming and made it easy for me to get familiar with the car.”
The most anticipated part of the day however, was seeing both stars take to the track at the same time on the M1, that competed only one month ago at the Valencian Grand Prix.
Speaking about their time on track Rossi said: “I also rode the YZR-M1 on track with Lewis. 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.”