Two years ago, Triumph announced a new global Triumph Racing division that would enter motocross and enduro racing series. The Triumph MX2 is out, a 250-cc bike that will line up at the Monster Energy AMA SuperMotocross World Championship in the U.S. and the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship in Europe in 2024. After proof in competition, Triumph will eventually develop its race bikes into a range of motocross and enduro bikes for the public. Turning from England to Italy, Ducati’s doing much the same thing. The brand from Borgo Panigale has spent two years working on a new MX bike that it will campaign in the Italian Motocross Championship next year. Ducati said the effort is “a multi-year project that will see the creation of a complete range of off-road engines and motorcycles. The models will gradually become part of a family of knobby motorcycles branded Ducati, starting with motocross.”
We don’t know the size of the Ducati yet. We do know Ducati plans to use its Desmo engines in the bike and tune a “very broad power delivery curve,” is chasing lightness, and expects to hang top-shelf components on the frame. So, it will be a Ducati.
We also know they’ve hired a wizard with years of vital knowledge to help develop the ride. Sicilian Antonio Cairoli won two MX2 championships on a Yamaha before joining Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in 2009, winning seven more premiere-class MX1/MXGP championships, then retiring in 2021 to become the KTM Factory Team manager. On October 23, KTM announced Cairoli’s departure “to pursue new professional goals for 2024.” On October 24, Ducati announced Cairoli would be the brand’s “high-performance test rider.” Eight-time Italian champion Alessandro Lupino has also been announced as Ducati’s racing and test rider. And the bike maker is hooked up with Madii Racing to manage the team, Madii saying it’s won at least six world championships, 10 European championships, and 40 national championships in its 33 years in business.
Cairoli won his trophies on a 350 and a 450, and Lupino comes over from last year’s Beta RX 450 ride, so we’ll guess there’s something larger than a 250 on the way, but that’s just a guess. There are eight other manufacturers entered into next year’s range of FIM MX series — Beta, Fantic, GasGas, Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, and Yamaha — enough excellent competition to demand an excellent bike if Lupino plans any victories. It’s suspected that Ducati might only enter a few races as a wild card next year with an eye on a proper campaign in 2025. Either way, the red will meet the dirt very soon.