[Ducati]

DUCATI’S 450CC MX BIKE AMBITIONS?

1 year ago | Words: Matt Holmes | Photos: Ducati Media House, Oberdan Bezzi

Hot on the heels of Ducati’s first real foray into the off-road world with the DesertX, the Internet rumour mill has been running hot about the famous Italian manufacturer’s other off-road ambitions. And while it’s not new, the rampant speculation that Ducati has been working on a 450cc motocross engine and chassis has resurfaced this year with more than a little oomph. As is the rumour that Ducati is entertaining the idea of entering the MXGP Championship in 2024, especially if you were to believe the crew at Racerxonline, who shone a little light on the prospect in their recent report from the MXGP in Sweden. If true, it means that, together with Triumph, there will soon be two brand new heavyweight road bike manufacturers in MXGP!

Word has it that Duc’s 450cc single-cylinder mill is already on the testing bench, with the aim to be a running prototype by the end of the year. I mean, what else is the Internet for, other than epic rumours and such?!

Still on this subject, but let’s jump back in time a little…

In around 2011, more than a few media outlets circulated rumours of a potential Ducati MXer being developed. And while the image that accompanied the rumour was simply a concept by the extremely talented moto dreamer, Oberdan Bezzi (whose ability to throw ideas and mash-ups together on every moto platform imaginable is second to none), sadly no such machine materialised.

Come 2022, with Ducati’s all-new Multistrada V4 asserting itself firmly in the maxi-adventure segment and the DesertX cementing Ducati’s off-road intentions, lopping a cylinder off one of their twins for a high-powered 450cc single and jamming it in a lightweight MX chassis doesn’t seem like too big a stretch of the imagination. Or does it?

It goes without saying that Ducati’s ability to run a factory team or integrate with existing teams is well known. As is their championship-winning prowess, be it in WSBK or MotoGP. So, with the likes of Sherco, Fantic and Beta all duking it out with the big guns of the KTM/Husky/GASGAS group and their Japanese counterparts, the appeal of racing the Euro-centric MXGP Championship must be more than a little alluring to Ducati.

Beyond simply racing, diversification is the name of the game in today’s ultra-competitive moto market. So, alongside Ducati’s Moto-E project, making their mark in the off-road world does seem like a no-brainer. Add to this, moving into Moto3 with that same lightweight, desmo-powered single that’s derived in the off-road racing world would make more than a little sense in the road racing scene, bringing even more riders up on Ducati with the potential for more GP titles.

Whatever way you look at it, it’s apparent Ducati is eventually going to have a crack at motocross. Maybe there’ll be some insights about it in Ducati’s World Premiere this September, with seven new or updated models scheduled to be released over the following weeks. Truth or fiction? Only time will tell. Our take? Just build it already!

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