The circuit is ready at the 2003 Qatar MX Cup. Today, the last big tabletop and other details were finished, and the course is a little shorter than the last edition, with less going up and down the dunes, and features a huge, NASCAR-style banked corner on the inside of the giant dune on which the track lies.

"The scenery this year is even better than the one we offered for the first edition last year," promoter Georges Jobé said as he showed us the new track. "Tomorrow, all of the riders will come and we have a really strong package with plenty of stars and two days of racing. The reason we chose the seventh and the 10th as race days is because on Friday [the 7th] it´s their Sunday here, and we wanted to have two weekends in a row of racing. But it was too much time and we opted to have only two days between the races. We´ll also have tours in the desert for the entire group of 150 people flying in from all over the world. They will have a lot of fun here in Qatar."

The beginning of February is the best time of the year to have such a big race over here because the weather is perfect - the temperature is warm, but not hot. The first rider who arrived here is Jobe´s protégée Eric Hubin, who rode a few demonstration laps today for the press of the Qatar Cycling Tour. Tomorrow morning, Stefy Bau will arrive from Orlando, Florida.

Later in the day, all the other competitors will hit the Qatari soil, led by 2002 winner Joel Smets. The dance starts Friday with three heats and continues the next Monday with the same format. Only big bikes will race, except for Bau, who will be riding a 125cc.

Confirmed Riders List:

Factory KTM:

1. Joel Smets (Belgium)

21. Yves Demaria (France)

Telefonica Movistar KTM:

4. Javier Garcia Vico (Spain)

7. Pit Beirer (Germany)

Bruforce KTM:

22. Tyla Rattray (South Africa)

54. Tanel Leok (Estonia)

Bodarwe KTM:

10. Patrick Caps (Belgium)

12. Eric Hubin (Belgium)

Champ KTM:

26. Marc De Reuver (Holland)

107. Aigar Leok (Estonia)

Boonen KTM:

6. Johan Boonen (Belgium)

68. Peter Iven (Belgium)

Honda Europe - Maddii:

46. Fabrizio Dini (Italy)

124. Manuel Monni (Italy)

Husaberg:

9. Jacky Martens (Belgium)

34. Dany Theybers (Belgium)

51. Joakim Karlson (Sweden)

RZ Yamaha:

16. Andrea Bartolini (Italy)

50. Antoine Letellier (France)

Honda Sarholz:

31. Avo Leok (Estonia)

45. Jiri Cepelak (Czech Republic)

Honda UK:

41. Christian Burnham (UK)

Kawasaki:

11. Sebastien Pourcel (France)

47. Serge Guidetty (France)

Suzuki:

62. Christophe Martin (France)

Yamaha - Sigmans:

8. Erwin Robins (Holland)

Honda Ita Cavatorta:

32. Max Gazzaratta

37. Cedric Melotte (Belgium)

77. Marc Ristori (Italy)

Honda Maddii:

3. Stefy Bau (Italy)

5. Davide Rocca (Italy)

Freestyle Teams

Team France:

Xavier Fabre

Jeremy Rouannet

Team Belgium:

Jimmy Verburgh

Team Canada:

Andy Bell

Reagan Sieg

Youth Demonstration

Arnaud Tonus (Switzerland)

Kevin Fors (Belgium)

Claes Hogstrom (Sweden)

Talal Bin Khalid Al Thani (Qatar)

Hamad Bin Khalid Al Thani (Qatar)

Mishari Ahmed Alhemaidi (Qatar)

Abdulla Ahmed Alhemaidi (Qatar)

FIM Motocross News

By Freelance

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