Could Ducati be set to race in MXGP in 2024?

We’ve known for some time that British manufacturer Triumph plans to expand its racing activities to include top-level motocross, but now another traditionally road-focused factory is apparently setting up a motocross effort: Ducati.

Triumph is of course the only engine manufacturer on the Moto2 World Championship grid in the MotoGP paddock. When news broke that Suzuki would be pulling out of MotoGP, speculation began to swirl that Triumph could take those two grid spots.

That would mean joining KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Aprilia and Ducati in the MotoGP world championship.

Nothing has moved on for a while now when it comes to Triumph’s MotoGP plans, but they could be joined by one of the MotoGP manufacturers to kick off a top-level motocross effort.

Ducati, apparently, is interested in joining the MXGP World Championship, and possibly as early as 2024.

Adam Wheeler – owner of On Track Off Road and co-host of RacerX’s MXGP Review podcast – reported on Gatedrop that Ducati is developing a 450cc engine for a motocross project with a view to testing a prototype motocross machine by the end of this year.

Additionally, Wheeler reports that Ducati is already considering its options for a “racing alliance” in the MXGP paddock.

There’s nothing concrete about Ducati’s MXGP plans yet, but if they were to enter the World Championship, the assumption would have to be that a US-based team would also be in the brand’s plan. from Bologna.

North America is Ducati’s second-largest market after its Italian home market, and AMA motocross and supercross are arguably a better advertising platform than MXGP.

The Italian brand is of course synonymous with road racing, and in particular the Superbike World Championship, where it enjoyed significant success in the 1990s and 2000s.

In MotoGP, Ducati is considered one of the most radical brands, with its project manager Gigi Dall’Igna and his team of engineers generating a seemingly endless stream of intriguing components that seemingly always keep the Desmosedici ahead of the curves. others.

During the final round of the World Championship, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Dall’Igna put rear fenders on some Desmosedici, including that of Enea Bastianini, who said he helped with braking.

Despite this technical progressiveness, Ducati’s success at World Championship level has been extremely limited over the past decade.

They haven’t won a world championship since Carlos Checa won WorldSBK in 2011, and their last MotoGP riders’ world championship was in 2007 with Casey Stoner.

Sure, they’ve won Teams and Constructors’ titles in recent years at Grand Prix level, but the main prize, the Drivers’ crown, continues to elude them.

The closest Ducati to winning a MotoGP World Riders’ Championship since Stoner won in 2007 was in 2017 with Andrea Dovizioso. He lost to Honda’s Marc Marquez and recently announced his retirement from MotoGP effective at the end of the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano in September.

Dovizioso is well known for his love of motocross. Like six-time Superbike world champion Jonathan Rea, Dovizioso is arguably as much a failed motocross racer as a successful road racer, and it’s possible Dovizioso will race in the Italian motocross championship after retiring from MotoGP.

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but he has competed in some Italian championship races in 2020 before the MotoGP world championship restarts after the Covid break.

With Dovizioso and Ducati apparently looking for motocross opportunities in the future, perhaps there could be a reunion of the pair. It’s an interesting hypothesis.

Even if Ducati were to race an Italian championship season before moving to MXGP, it seems unlikely that the #04 would return to red, as the reason for his departure was primarily a breakdown in the factory-rider relationship.

But, in any case, the possibility of Ducati joining the MXGP gate in the relatively near future is a curious one. This comes after the launch of their first truly off-road focused bike in the DesertX, and following the announcement that Ducati will take over from Energica as the sole supplier of bikes to the MotoE World Championship in 2023 with their V21L, the breadth and diversity of Ducati’s intentions – and potentially their roster – is beyond doubt.

New Ducati DesertX 2022: specs, details and features

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