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MotoGP: Qatar night race plan angers Marco Melandri

Published: 03 September 2007

Italian Marco Melandri has said it is ‘terrible’ MotoGP riders were not consulted before last weekend’s announcement the 2008 Qatar MotoGP will be run at night under floodlights.

Dorna and Qatar officials confirmed the opening round of next season on March 9, 2008 would be the first in history to be staged at night. The race is likely to start at 11pm to catch prime time viewing audiences in Europe where the time would be 9pm.

But it emerged after the announcement the vast majority of riders had no idea the 2008 race would be run under floodlights.

MotoGP world championship leader Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden knew nothing of the proposals for next year.

And Marco Melandri had no idea either, telling MCN: “I think it can be good but I’m not so happy. All the riders have to race in those conditions but nobody has asked us before about this decision.

“Somebody should have asked us. I knew just ten minutes afterwards and that’s terrible. We are making the show so I think we should have the choice with what we do.”

A planned test session will be run at the Losail International Circuit at the end of October, and Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri said he would be happy to attend to give his opinion.

“We need to test and after we should have a meeting to decide whether it is safe enough.

“The biggest problem is to understand the distance when you are looking for the braking point. Maybe it is further or closer than you think it is.

“I would like to go and test but after that I’d like to see all of the other riders and say ‘yes we can do this kind of race or its too dangerous,” said Melandri, who will be riding a factory Ducati next season.

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