[Ducati]

WHEN DUCATI MET AUDI…

2 weeks ago | Words: Matt Holmes | Photos: Ducati Media House

Big travel and a truckload of torque means serious fun in any off-road pursuit. So when two of the most advanced off-road vehicles on the planet were rumoured to be getting sideways together in Sardinia for a special event that combined “the most anticipated motorcycle of 2022 and the most amazing rally prototype ever produced”, we were more than a little intrigued.

But what went down? Ducati’s much-anticipated DesertX – the brand’s first foray into the mid-weight adventure bike market – took to the dirt alongside Audi’s futuristic and now race-proven RS Q e-tron in a media event to showcase both brands’ commitment to off-road evolution.

While we’re used to seeing pre-production images of the DesertX in its stunning matt-white outfit, to see it getting dirty in a one-off take on the Audi’s black-and-red livery was all-time. Former MotoGP rider for Ducati (and KTM) and 2022 Dakar Rally stage winner, Danilo Petrucci, was the rider manhandling the 21-inch front-wheeled, dual headlight-equipped, 110hp twin Duc around the track next to the Audi. Which made us wonder: does Ducati have plans of lopping off a cylinder off the DesertX’s 937cc Testastretta twin and returning to the Dakar Rally with a 450cc rally bike under Petrux? Fanciful food for thought!

Yep, the “e” in e-tron stands for electric – well, hybrid anyway. After a couple of stage wins at the Dakar Rally back in January, the trick Audi secured its first overall win at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March. Driven by Formula-E electric motors at each axle, the car’s 50.0-kWh battery is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four out of Audi’s RS5 DTM car and produces north of 670hp with a 0-100km/h time of less than 4.5 seconds – that’s on dirt!

We’re certainly looking forward to throwing a leg over the DesertX in August, when the bike’s Aussie media is scheduled to take place.

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