More often than not, a world press launch is held somewhere not far off the beaten path of familiarity. The local language may be French, Spanish, Italian or some other Latin dialect, but the sights and sounds don’t fall under the guise of the really exotic. The 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R launch in Qatar was a little different. While Qatar is very westernized (I saw an Applebee’s in downtown Doha, for chrissakes!) there’s no forgetting you’re visiting an area of the world that’s  fundamentally dissimilar. Architecture, fashion, culture and cuisine are constant reminders that things are different. And sand, lots and lots of sand.

So it was a treat to visit that area of the world, and, especially, ride the track that’s become the traditional Round 1 of the MotoGP season each year for the last decade. Riding under the lights of the Losail Circuit was exceptionally cool, but experiences outside the track also presented some notable memories. Here’s 10 of what I found quizzical, interesting, or both.