MISANO: Next year's Qatar Grand Prix will be the first MotoGP race to be held at night, officials said on Friday.
Organisers believe the season opening race on March 9 will be the biggest lighting project in the world for any sporting event.
This is obviously a major project for Qatar and we are proud to be able to say we will hold the first Grand Prix event under lights, Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah from the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation told a news conference in Misano ahead of tomorrow's San Marino MotoGP.
Whilst this is great for the country's image as a whole, it also means our track can be used in the hot summer months and we hope this opens up more opportunities for other motorsports events in the future.
MotoGP safety commission members Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Kenny Roberts tested the Losail International Circuit at night during last year's Grand Prix meeting using street bikes.
In June, Formula One carried out its first experiment into the feasibility of night races by running test cars under lights at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Singaporean property billionaire Ong Beng Seng have discussed the possibility of holding a race under floodlights in the South-East Asian city state.
While double world champion Fernando Alonso has questioned the safety of Formula One races on street circuits under artificial light, other series have held night races on ovals in the United States.
The Le Mans 24-hour endurance classic also takes place at night, but sports cars have headlights whereas Formula One cars do not. Reuters