Despite rumours surrounding the F1 test offer by BAR boss David Richards, speculation that the Italian superstar Valentino Rossi could switch to grands prix full-time appears wide of the mark - although 'The Doctor' could well end his racing career on four wheels of a different kind.

Although Rossi confirmed at Motegi last weekend that he'll test the Honda powered car in 'January and February 2003', it looks as though the run will be more out of curiosity than a serious bid to change disciplines, something that was also confirmed at the Pacific Grand Prix.

"We are aware of the rumour, but it is very unlikely for [Rossi] to move to Formula One - at least for now," a Honda official told the BBC, "We have not even heard of any conclusion on his Formula One test. Rossi won the championship for the second straight year, but his challenge in the motorcycle sports will continue. It is not so easy to switch from one type of race to another."

However, while an F1 move may have gone cold, the Italian has fuelled further speculation of another four-wheeled move by confirming that he will drive in the final round of the World Rally Championship - the Rally of Great Britain - in November.

'Vale' is due to test the Peugeot 206 he will drive in the event between the Australian and Valencia Grands Prix and has participated - impressively - with four-wheel drive machinery in the season-ending Michelin Race of Champions in the past.

Therefore, when he does retire from motorcycle racing, the 23-year old appears much more likely to go rallying - particularly as, in the past, he's stated that the WRC stars are much more skilled than their F1 colleagues....



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