Valentino Rossi has made no secret of his plans to take part in sports car racing whenever he calls time on his record-breaking MotoGP career, a decision that currently hangs in the balance.

"Like I always said, when I finish with the MotoGP I want to race with the cars," Rossi said earlier this season.

"I have some experience with rally because I’m a rally fanatic. I did also a world championship event. But for me rally at the end is difficult, because it’s very demanding and I want to race on a circuit because I like it more.

"I have experience racing with GT3 (sports cars) that is an important and interesting category because it has a lot of different factory cars from Ferrari, to Porsche, to Bentley, to Aston Martin and everything.

"So I think I will race with that type of car when I stop with the MotoGP.

"But I don’t know in which championship - there are different championships, the Endurance championship, the (Le Mans) 24 hours - but I hope to race somewhere there."

With that in mind, the news that Ferrari - the manufacturer with which Rossi previously conducted F1 tests as well as recent GT3 outings in the Gulf 12 Hours - has just announced plans to enter the new Hypercar class at Le Mans prompted the question of whether The Doctor, 42, might be in the running.

"With all due respect, I believe he is older than the current Endurance drivers, and we will be facing some fierce opponents," Gazzetta dello Sport quotes Antonello Coletta, Ferrari's head of GT Sports Activities as replying.

"It is as if one of our drivers suddenly decided to race on a motorcycle. Valentino has fun with the GTs, maybe he could try in that class [at Le Mans]. We think we already have plenty of driver choices for the Hypercar and will choose from the emerging young talents."

Ferrari's new Hypercar is set to start testing in May-June of 2022.