Plans to host MotoGP's first ever night race at the 5.4km Losail circuit, on March 9, 2008, were announced last month - but the estimated cost was avoided.

"I am revealing the figure for the first time. Don't be shocked. The total lighting cost alone comes to 15 million dollars. Yes, you heard it right. It is 15 million dollars. It's a huge amount by any standards," admitted Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah, during an interview with Gulf Times. "There will be about 1,200 light towers with about 50-60 lights each located in such a way that there won't be any shadows... Musco Lighting, the company handling the project, has already started bringing in their equipment. So it's only a matter of days before the actual work begins."

Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah, a former rally driver, also explained the origins of the project.

"It was HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, the private adviser to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who first suggested the idea [of a MotoGP night race]," he said. "People think it was the FIM that suggested the idea to the QMMF, but that's not true. Sheikh Abdullah wanted Qatar to do something out of the ordinary and now we are going to have a MotoGP under floodlights."

The night race is rumoured to have angered some MotoGP riders, who claim they hadn't been consulted about the idea.

"That's not true," said Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah. "In fact most of the riders are ready for a new challenge. Riders like Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Nicky Hayden have declared they'd love to race at night."

A special night test is due to be held before the event to evaluate the lighting system before the grand prix takes place.