The 2009 Qatar MotoGP
night race saw an 800cc machine exceed the highest top speed of a 990cc bike for the first time during a grand prix weekend at the Losail International Circuit.
Losail hosted its first MotoGP
event in 2004, when Max Biaggi's Camel Honda was clocked at 334.4km/h (207/8mph)along the 1.068km main straight.
That record stood unbroken for the remainder of the 990cc era and then the first year of 800cc racing in 2007.
However, Ducati's Marco Melandri
was able to exactly match Biaggi's top speed during last year's race - and Dani Pedrosa
took his Repsol Honda to a new record of 338.6km/h (210.41mph) in this year's qualifying session (now without qualifying tyres).
Mika Kallio's Pramac Ducati was second in qualifying with 338.0km/h, followed by Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner
(337.2km/h) and Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha (337.0km/h). Team-mate Valentino Rossi
was ranked fifth with 334.2km/h.
One of the main reasons for reducing engine size, and restricting fuel, had been to try and reduce top speeds.
The Qatar Grand Prix has been held at night for the past two seasons.Qatar top speed 2004-2009:
2004: Max Biaggi
Camel Honda 334.4km/h
2005: Carlos Checa
Ducati Marlboro 328.7km/h
2006: Dani Pedrosa
Repsol Honda 330.2km/h
2007: Casey Stoner
Ducati Marlboro 324.7km/h
2008: Marco Melandri
Ducati Marlboro 334.4 km/h
2009: Dani Pedrosa
Repsol Honda 338.6km/h