By Peter McLaren
MotoGP's first ever night race, due to open the 2008 season at Qatar on March 9, has been given an overwhelming thumbs-up by Anthony West, one of a handful of riders to try the special lightening system.
Kawasaki star West, along with one rider from each of the other MotoGP manufacturers, took part in a special night test, using road bikes, at the Losail circuit on November 12. The test was make-or-break for the night-race concept, but the idea was given enthusiastic approval by the riders present.
"It was cool! I loved it!" West told Crash.net
. "It's like when you watch a Supercross; all the bikes look really good under the lights - because they are more shiny - and it was the same when we rode there. The bikes just look cooler at night and you could see the exhausts glowing red and things like that. It should make it more exciting."
Prior to the test, the main concern had been visibility, specifically the disorientating effect of shadows on the race track, but West said that the lighting arrangement had solved that problem.
"The lights were so good that there's not really a shadow that you notice," he said. "When you stand on the track, it's like when you see football players standing in a stadium - the players make several small shadows in different directions rather than one big one. You don't really notice those small shadows when you're riding, which is good because it could be distracting.
"It's going to be strange to see what happens when there's no sun on the track. It's still quite hot there at night, but a night race will definitely change the way the tyres work," West concluded.