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MotoGP to hold first night race
In a press conference held today at the Misano circuit, it was announced that the forthcoming 2008 Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar will be held at night in an unprecedented addition to the MotoGP World Championship. A lighting system incorporating over 3700 separate bulbs in every section of the track will be installed to guarantee complete visibility in the Sunday evening race.

Hence MotoGP will beat F1 to the night-race punch.  Champ Car has already run two night races, one on the airport at Cleveland and one on the Milwaukee Mile.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, Musco President Joe Crookham and Vice President Jeff Rogers were joined by Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah from the QMMF (Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation) to make the news official in a short press conference, during which the reasons for the move were explained.

Mr. Ezpeleta noted that a change to a night time race would allow for a better synchronization with European television schedules, ensuring higher viewing figures from one of MotoGP’s largest fanbases.

The possibility opened up by riding in the cooler part of the day, that of the Losail International Circuit holding races year-round, was brought up by Mr. Al-Attiyah.

Mr. Crookham explained the complex lighting system, which will eliminate shadowing on the track and in the run-off areas, and revealed that the operation would be the biggest lighting project in the world for any sporting event.

A night race at the Losail International Circuit was first investigated at last year’s Grand Prix, when MotoGP Safety Commission members Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Kenny Roberts Jr. rode the circuit on street bikes.

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