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Lewis Hamilton linked to Gresini MotoGP team deal

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is understood to be in talks with Gresini Racing about buying the satellite Ducati MotoGP squad.

In a move first suggested by The Race's sources at the start of the Dutch TT weekend at Assen and since confirmed by multiple people with knowledge of the team's workings, Hamilton has expressed interest in acquiring Gresini from current team boss Nadia Padovani.

A member of Hamilton’s inner circle was even believed to have been in attendance with Gresini at Assen last weekend, as the current Mercedes driver and his representatives scout out the commercial viability of taking over the team at a key time in MotoGP’s history.

MotoGP is currently in the process of being acquired by F1's owner Liberty Media, so it would be perfect for Liberty if F1's best-known driver - who has his own motorcycle collection and is a huge MotoGP fan - was significantly involved in its new two-wheeled venture.

This should in theory act as a perfect ‘crossover episode’ should Liberty want to convert some of F1’s huge fanbase into MotoGP fans - providing its takeover is approved by competition regulators, with a decision expected later this year.

The deal would also allow Hamilton to acquire a significant financial asset at very little financial risk to himself, too, with a number of his personal and current Mercedes team sponsors already involved in MotoGP and likely to be easily persuaded into backing his new venture as well, with names such as Petronas and Monster Energy obvious potential partners given their own MotoGP histories.

Gresini is one of MotoGP’s most storied squads, with a history that dates back to the mid-1990s and having run the likes of Daijiro Kato, Toni Elias and Jorge Martin to titles in the lower classes while stars including Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri and the late Marco Simoncelli have fought for MotoGP titles and race wins with Gresini.

It became the factory Aprilia squad in 2015, and was then taken over by Padovani in 2021 following the death of her husband and team founder Fausto Gresini.

Gresini reverted to independent status with satellite Ducati machinery for 2022 and has gone from strength to strength since then, scoring overall and sprint race wins with Enea Bastianini, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Alex Marquez before pulling off the coup of signing six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez from Honda for 2024.

In addition to his personal collection of bikes Hamilton is also an avid trackday rider and previously had a deal with MV Agusta, which produced limited-edition bikes he helped design.

Hamilton has even had the chance to ride MotoGP machinery in the past, when he swapped places with MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi at Valencia in 2019 through shared sponsors Monster and Petronas.

There, he rode Rossi's Yamaha M1 alongside the nine-time world champion before Rossi got the chance to try Hamilton's Mercedes W08 F1 car.

“I have always loved bikes,” Hamilton said at the time. “When I was younger I wanted to race bikes, not cars but my dad wouldn’t let me - he said they were too dangerous!

“He got me into four wheels rather than two. It was the right choice because if I was racing during the time Vale was there, I wouldn’t have been so successful.

“Since I have been in Formula 1, I have a superbike and I like to do some track days. It is fascinating. It gives a different perspective.”

A move into MotoGP wouldn’t be the first time that Hamilton has dabbled in sports team ownership, either, both in motorsport and in other ventures.

He was the owner of X44, which until this season competed in electric off-road racing series Extreme E, and won the 2022 title with Dakar Rally stage winner Cristina Gutierrez and nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb.

Hamilton is also part of the ownership group that took over American football team the Denver Broncos in 2022, partnering with former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to join the investment group run by Walmart heir Rob Walton as they took over the team that won the 2014 Super Bowl.

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