by Peter McLaren

MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has put an end to speculation that he's planning a future in Formula One, by stating that any F1 test would be purely for fun.

After attending the Australian Formula One grand prix, rumours began circulating that Rossi would test for Toyota - a company with links to his new team Yamaha - while some sources even claimed 'The Doctor' wants an F1 race seat after his MotoGP contract expires in 2005.

However, revealed that Toyota currently have no plans in place to put the Italian in one of their machines, while Rossi has now added that even if he drives an F1 car - he has no intention of leaving MotoGP.

"I started racing in karts and wanted to be a Formula One driver but later, fortunately, I changed (to bikes)," said Valentino, a five-times motorcycling world champion at the age of 25. "I just want to try Formula One for fun, I don't know if I can drive a car like I can ride a bike, so for sure I'll stay (in MotoGP)."

In order to race in F1, Rossi would need a 'Super License' - awarded on a driver's past record in the junior formulae and the existence of a contract with an F1 team.

In other words, even if a team were prepared to sign him, Rossi have to spend at least one season in a comparatively low key championship such as F3000, unlikely for someone who has achieved near mythical status on two-wheels.

Meanwhile, the Italian currently faces his greatest two-wheel challenge to date, as he attempts to take Yamaha's first premier-class world championship since 1993.

"For sure it was a big decision (to leave Honda) a big change for everybody, but also a big challenge for me and for all my mechanics," he explained. "I don't think we can win the championship in the first year, but I think it may be possible to be in the top three."

Despite his apparent cautiousness, Rossi set the pace in the first official MotoGP test session, at Catalunya, winning a BMW in the process. The second and final pre-season test begins today (Wednesday), at Jerez.



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