MotoGP: Stars prepare for Qatar night test ahead of historic race

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Plans for a historic night race in Qatar in 2008 could move a step closer when Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi carry out the first serious evaluation under floodlights next month.

Five riders including new world champion Casey Stoner will ride production road bikes at the Losail International Circuit to test at selected corners which have been floodlit in preparation for the season’s opening GP next year on March 9.

Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi, Dani Pedrosa and John Hopkins will join Casey Stoner in the test session to be run on November 12 before the riders start a three-day test session at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

It will be the only chance for riders to give initial feedback before the entire multi-million pound project is completed in time for the International Race Teams Association test session on February 16.

That will be the final make or break on whether Qatar creates history as the first MotoGP race to be run at night.

Casey Stoner said he was looking forward to gauging the lights next month and said: “I think it will be very interesting to see if it works.

“I remember when I was a lot younger and used to race in dirt track in Australia, sometimes we were support races at speedway meetings and I remember it was a lot of fun to race at night. Maybe road racing is the same and it is a new adventure for us.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt