Dorna press release:
As the MotoGP paddock gathers together for the 2009 Commercial bank Grand Prix of Qatar, the Losail International Circuit’s efforts in the 2008 version of the event were rewarded in a special press conference held on Friday. Last year’s inaugural night race was awarded the prize of ‘Best Grand Prix of 2008’ by IRTA.
Whilst the award itself will be presented at the end of season FIM MotoGP Awards Ceremony, the news was announced shortly before the opening free practice sessions in Qatar. QMMF President Mr. Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah accepted the honour from IRTA President Hervé Poncharal, with Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta also in attendance.
Explaining the reasons for the prize, Poncharal stated that: “It is a very tough competition to win, as it is voted for by the teams, riders and mechanics. Not since 1998 has a non-European event received this award.
“The Losail Circuit has the best possible facilities for the team’s to perform their work, and we believe that it is the safest track that we have –a track made solely for bikes and not compromised by the requirements of car racing. What really convinced us was their investment of millions of dollars in their fantastic lighting project, allowing us to hold a historic first floodlit Grand Prix.”
The QMMF President described the receiving of the award as “a great moment and a big surprise for the Losail circuit. It is really big for us after years of hard work proving that we are doing our best to achieve this moment.
“We started from zero, and to receive this is a real ‘zero to hero’ achievement.”
Concluding the press conference, Mr. Ezpeleta described the process involved in holding the first ever night Grand Prix.
“When we first had a proposal to hold a Grand Prix in Qatar, we were asked if it was possible to hold a race in the desert. But we were convinced by the passion of the Qatari federation, and particularly their president. Then we thought about whether it was possible to hold the race at night, and once again we were convinced.”