With the end of his MotoGP career now just ten days away, Valentino Rossi began preparations for his future as a racing car driver with a sportscar test at Misano yesterday.

"Now it's two races in a row, so it's ten days. Imagine ten days compared to 26 years! It's nothing," Rossi said of his remaining time in MotoGP, consisting of back-to-back events at Portimao and Valencia.

"It's a very emotional moment, sincerely, and I want to try to stay concentrated to give the maximum to the end of the season.

"This for me is very important because in Misano my race was not too bad and I want to try to give the maximum and remain concentrated, not think a lot about what happens on the Monday after Valencia!

"I'm still a rider and I want to give the maximum and try to enjoy these last two races.

"Here in April, the weekend was difficult but in the race I was quite fast, I was in the top ten but unfortunately I crashed. So we need to make the maximum and try to be competitive to fight for the top ten."

Just before flying to this weekend's penultimate round, the Italian was on track in a Kessel Ferrari alongside brother Luca Marini and VR46's Uccio Salucci to prepare for their annual winter appearance in the Gulf 12 hours.

But this time the preparations are more serious, marking the start of Rossi's four-wheel 'career', with the nine-time world champion confirming he will then enter at least one of the major sportscar championships in 2022.

"I tried the Ferrari yesterday in Misano because we will race in Abu Dhabi in January with Luca and Uccio," Rossi confirmed. "This is the race that we always do in the last three years and in general it's just for fun.

"But we did a test – unfortunately the weather was not fantastic – but we enjoy a lot. I was not so bad. I feel good. And next year I become a car driver! So from now the approach [to car racing] and the effort is different.

"But this [Gulf 12 Hours] race is still for fun and after we need to understand which championship and which program for next year."

"Sincerely Vale was really fast, really strong," Marini said of the test. "In other tests I was closer to him. Yesterday he was pushing a lot in conditions with some wet spots. He was able to give one second to me. He was really fast, pushed the car at the limit. I was a bit more worried about this. I didn’t want to do any damage.

"Also Uccio in wet he was strong. In dry he had less time to improve his lap time. But he had a good test also. We were close. I was one second from Vale and Uccio 1.5-2s from me.

"But with the car it’s more difficult to talk about time. The balance of performance can change a lot as the tyres become worn."

Rossi added that the decision on which GT championship he enters after the Gulf 12 Hours is yet to be made, but he also seems to have one eye on the prestigious new Hypercar class for 2023.

"It's a very important moment for the GT races and Endurance races because they will do this new class that is called Hypercar and for 2023 all the big names in cars, the factories, also Ferrari, Porsche, Audi will race with these cars," Rossi explained.

"Next years I will race with GT cars. I still don’t know which championship because it can be the WEC but can be also European Le Mans series or International GT challenge.

"We need to decide, also with which car, and I need to understand also my level and my speed because for sure I would like to race with LMP2 or with Hypercar [prototypes] but there the level of the drivers is very high. So I don't know if I am fast enough. We will try to understand next year."

Petronas Yamaha rider Rossi and rookie Marini are currently locked in a battle to avoid being last of the full time riders in the MotoGP world championship standings, the pair currently separated by just two points, with Marini in front.

Marini will continue to race for Rossi's VR46 team as it graduates to a full MotoGP entry next season.