The 2019 Qatar Grand Prix will begin, as planned, at 8pm local time on Sunday evening.

As several leading riders explained on Thursday, 'most' wanted the start time moved to 7pm, the same time as last season, to lower the risk of slippery dew forming on the track surface.

The issue was discussed during Friday evening's Safety Commission meeting where 'the riders pushed for 7pm', but it seems it was too late to change, presumably due to TV scheduling.

"Most of the riders preferred 7pm," confirmed reigning world champion Marc Marquez.

"Today was perfect conditions but you never know. Yesterday was very, very cold. So, most of the riders prefer 7pm, but they said that 8pm would be the race time.

"Last year was 7pm and they said maybe next year will be 7pm again, but this year it will be 8pm."

The Repsol Honda rider, fastest on Friday, added: "Yes, we pushed, all the riders pushed for 7pm.

"But they said we rode very fast today and with not many crashes. But today was a very nice day, on Sunday we will see…"

Fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow warned: "Today was perfect at 8 o’clock, but tomorrow could be [like] light rain. As we saw in the Moto2 test last week it was 17 degrees at 8 o’clock. In our test there were twelve crashes after 7:30.

"Last week after the test, I was told it couldn’t be moved... 100 percent [I'd want a 7pm start]. I’d vote for a quarter to 7 just to make sure. But then I’d probably complain it was too hot for the front tyre!"

The Englishman added: "Listen, I love this [night] race, I love Qatar and the way they do it.  I think it’s a good spectacle. We always have good racing, as you’ve seen from the last couple of years.

"But if the dew on the track is as it can be, there won’t be any finishers. No matter how fast or slow you ride, there will be no finishers. You’ll see..."

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso felt the issue should have been addressed earlier (although Jorge Lorenzo made his concerns clear after the recent test).

"I think it is almost impossible to change the [time] two days before the race. I think it is very difficult, for many reasons," Dovi said.

"If we really want to change something then we need to think and speak on time. Every day the condition is different and the humidity starts at a different time: now it is perfect and tomorrow it could be very bad.

"It’s true that if you race at 7 then there is less risk."

Prior to last season the Qatar night race started at 9pm.



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