The opening event of the MotoGP season in Qatar will be spread over four days to ensure that all sessions take place in full darkness.
The race times at Losail have been moved forward by an hour this year – when the MotoGP race now starting at 10 p.m. local time – in response to concerns that moisture was forming on the track later in the evening and causing accidents. That has meant a reorganization of the rest of the weekend schedule to avoid the morning sessions taking place in notably different lighting conditions to qualifying and the race, as Friday's and Saturday's first practice and the Sunday warm-ups might have done had their start times also been put forward.
The grand prix weekend will therefore begin at 6 p.m. local time on Thursday, March 17, with two practice sessions for 125cc and Moto2, and one for MotoGP, happening before 10:35 p.m. that evening. Friday night sees two more practice sessions for MotoGP and one apiece for the feeder categories.
Saturday's action commences with the three qualifying sessions, after which 125cc and Moto2 will have their warm-up sessions – a day before the races themselves. The MotoGP warm-up is saved for Sunday evening at 6 p.m., followed by the three races.
The MotoGP teams will already be present at Losail several days in advance, as their final winter test takes place at the circuit on March 13-14.