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Ducati enters motocross with nine-time MX World Champion Antonio Cairoli signing on as a test rider for the brand's new MX racing program.

Ducati enters motocross with nine-time MX World Champion Antonio Cairoli signing on as a test rider for its new MX racing program.

Ducati has been working for two years on a prototype MX machine that will debut next season in the Italian Motocross Championship, with the aim of validating the technical solutions made on the bike on the track. 

According to Ducati, this is a multi-year project that will see the creation of a complete range of off-road engines and motorcycles – a family of knobby motorcycles branded Ducati, starting with motocross. Up until now, the most off-road focused bike from Ducati has been the DesertX Rally.

The Bologna-based company has signed an agreement with nine-time Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli as a high-performance test rider for the new project.

“I am extremely happy to become part of the universe of Ducati, which has always been a symbol of Italian spirit throughout the world, and to begin this exciting new adventure, in an all-Italian project,” said Antonio Cairoli. “Being able to make my contribution to the development of the Borgo Panigale motocross bike is a dream come true and a source of great pride for me.”

Check out this promo video.

Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, added, “I am proud to announce Ducati’s entry into Motocross. A totally new world for Ducati in which we want to bring our talent in designing lightweight motorcycles, with excellent components and high performance and – above all – which can excite more and more motorcyclists.

“Just as we believe that the track is the best laboratory to develop and test the bikes that will then be available to customers and enthusiasts. This is why we have decided to cooperate with an undisputed champion like Tony Cairoli who, together with the passion and dedication of many of us here in Borgo Panigale, will contribute to making Ducati in off-road as capable in offering very high-performance products to its passionate customers as we have proven on the asphalt.”

Ducati has also signed a multi-year agreement with Maddii Racing, which will be the reference structure for the MX racing activities and will take part in the 2024 Italian Motocross Championship with Alessandro Lupino, eight-time Italian Champion and 2021 MXoN winner. Lupino is also contracted to Ducati as racing and test rider.

Distinguishing the new Ducati off-roaders from other brands, the engines will feature the brand’s iconic Desmodromic system. Ducati says it is the only company in the world that uses the same valve return system on its highest performing production motorcycles as it does on racing prototypes.

Ducati says that entering the specialist off-road sector represents an important and challenging strategic choice for Ducati, and is a decision that confirms the desire to expand the brand’s presence into unexplored terrain. It adds that ‘new young motorcyclists will be able to get close to the Borgo Panigale brand and thus enter the large community of Ducatisti’.