Following several crashes under artificial light during the latest test of the off-season – Ducati's duo Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden crashed out, while joined by Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards and Ben Spies – Stoner was the first to ask the championship's organizers to change the starting hour for earlier in the evening. Currently, the race starts at 11 PM local time.
“Something's strange, maybe dampness comes out of the surface. You don't crash while pushing at turn entry, but when you are already straight. On top of that, they've layed asphalt beyond the kerb and I don't understand why: you slide there and you never scrub off speed. It's difficult to bring the tyres up to temperature at the time when we race. Nothing warns you: 'bang', and you're down,” said Stoner, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
Safety issues were raised by MotoGP veteran Loris Capirossi also, who insisted that TV audiences should not dictate the way the sport is ran. As a matter of fact, changing the starting hour would now influence night-racing in Qatar, a dark usually falls over the Losail track from as early as 6 PM in the afternoon.
“Do they want to race at night? Okay, it's dark already at 6pm, we can race at 8 or even at 10. TV is important, but we count too and you'll see something will change,” said the Suzuki rider.
“To wait until 11pm is not very intelligent. It's better to race earlier. We haven't had time to talk with the others yet, but I will call (Loris) Capirossi to do that,” added reigning MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, who actually hinted that moving the race earlier would actually benefit the audience in Europe.