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Monday, March 03, 2008

Night Riders come to Qatar

A historical night race - the first one ever to be held in the Middle East - is to be held shortly on Losail race track on the 9th of this month for the first round of the Qatar Moto GP.

After recent testing proved that initial difficulties had been worked out, 3600 flood lights with a total power of 5.4 million watts will light up the desert track.

"They have done a fantastic job with the lights," said Toseland, a British rider. "I was here in November when just three corners were lit and to do what they have done is a great effort."

The race may prove challenging. Despite the number of floodlights, visibility is still not the same as the day, and one rider complained that during tests he found the shadows very tiring on the eyes.

During tests riders have also been struggling with the humidity, with Toseland resorting to a face mask.

Racing at night - the start will be 11 o'clock - means working a night shift, too. "Getting your body fired up when it wants to shut down is very difficult,' said Toseland. Rossi has also mentioned difficulties, complaining about the cold and suggesting a night race would make more sense later in the year.

Nevertheless, the race is going ahead with the rider's approval, and having this night race - not to mention doing so before Singapore (which will be holding a Formula 1 race in September) - is a coup for Qatar and the race organisers, who are hoping for bumper television audiences.

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