MotoGP: Opening Round Qatar to be spread over four nights according to new schedule

The opening round of the 2011 MotoGP world championship, which will include Valentino Rossi’s Ducati debut and Cal Crutchlow’s premier class bow, will be run over four nights in March.

Five practice sessions will take place on Thursday night including two for the 125 and Moto2 classes and one for MotoGP.

MotoGP will then have its second and third practice sessions run over 45-minutes on Friday night with all qualifying sessions taking place on Saturday evening.

The other notable change is that the 125 and Moto2 field will have their pre-race Warm-Up session on Saturday night, nearly 24 hours before they will race.

The changes are to ensure that the showcase MotoGP race takes places earlier on Sunday night after a series of complaints that conditions are too cold for the tyres.

The race has been moved forward to March 20, further increasing worries about the cold temperatures in the evening and subsequent moisture in the air that led to several crashes during testing at the spectacular Losail International Circuit last year.

Full Qatar MotoGP schedule
Thursday March 17th
18:00-18:40 – 125cc Free Practice 1
18:55-19:40 – Moto2 Free Practice 1
19:55-20:40 – MotoGP Free Practice 1
20:55-21:35 – 125cc Free Practice 2
21:50-22:35 – Moto2 Free Practice 2

Friday March 18th
18:00-18:45 – MotoGP Free Practice 2
19:00-19:40 – 125cc Free Practice 3
19:55-20:40 – Moto2 Free Practice 3
20:55-21:40 – MotoGP Free Practice 3

Saturday March 19th
18:00-18:40 – 125cc Qualifying Practice
18:55-19:40 – Moto2 Qualifying Practice
19:55-20:55 – MotoGP Qualifying Practice 21:20-21:40 – 125cc Warm Up
21:55-22:15 – Moto2 Warm Up

Sunday March 20th
18:00-18:20 – MotoGP Warm Up
19:00 – 125cc  Race (18 laps)
20:15 – Moto2 Race (20 laps)
22:00 – MotoGP Race (22 laps)
* All times are local

Source | MCN

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