The MotoGP legend will drive at the world’s biggest GT3 race this weekend.

And he shot through the packed streets of Spa, where fans welcomed the 70 participating cars and 251 drivers.

There was a carnival atmosphere as the cars headed into the city centre before qualifying begins on Thursday.

Mercedes are the best-represented manufacturer, joined by fellow German brands Audi, Porsche and BMW.

Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Aston Martin also feature prominently.

Rossi will drive the #46 BMW representing Team WRT.

“We come to Spa, the most important race of the year and the biggest in GT3 racing, with more than 70 cars, on the best track for cars in the world,” he said. 

“It will be my second time at Spa, I enjoyed it last year and it is fantastic to be back again. 

“The level is so high, with the best drivers and cars in the world. I preferred the older date, but it doesn’t change much. 

“We are in good shape, we were quite fast in the tests and we have a strong line-up. We’re ready to give the maximum.”

Team Principal Vincent Vosse said: “Spa comes earlier this year and right after Le Mans, but it is always a great pleasure and a big responsibility to be part of this race which means so much to us. 

“We will have on track four cars, two in Pro and one each in the Gold and Bronze classes, all seeking top honours. 

“The objective is to fight at the forefront, which is also what it is expected from us. It’s now eight years we haven’t won, we have been very close to a third win many times but eventually lacked that very little thing that makes the difference. 

“We hope to be luckier this time. After 13 participations, this will be the first defending the colours of BMW. I feel very proud to represent the manufacturer that is by far the one that has taken most wins at Spa.”