Ducati motocross plans announced, Cairoli confirmed

Antonio Cairoli has been confirmed as part of Ducati’s newly announced motocross project, which will see it take part in the Italian Championship next year

Ducati motocross

Ducati has announced its motocross plans, including the team that will run the trackside programme, and the inclusion of Antonio Cairoli.

The displacement of the bike has not yet been confirmed, and the entire bike remains a mystery apart from the fact that it exists. But Ducati says its focus with the new off-road project “is a combination of the search for lightness pushed to the extreme, top components and engines characterised by a very wide delivery curve.” The final point is an indication of the use of desmodromic valves (as used in its production sports bikes and MotoGP prototypes), which Ducati has confirmed, while its apparent emphasis on low weight could indicate the use of atypical materials in the bike’s construction compared to those which are more traditional in dirt bikes, although this is only speculation.

Image icon Ducati motocross
Ducati will compete next season with Alessandro Lupino in the 2024 Italian Motocross Championship, who was alongside Cairoli for Team Italy in the 2021 Motocross of Nations.

Lupino will race for the Maddii Racing squad, which has been chosen by Ducati to lead its motocross efforts on the race track on a multi-year contract. Maddii has previously worked with brands such as Husqvarna, with which it finished second in the 2020 EMX250 series with Mattia Guadagnini, and Fantic, whose bikes Maddii fielded in the 2023 MXGP World Championship. 

Lupino will work with nine-times Motocross World Champion Cairoli as a test rider for Ducati, in addition to his racing duties in the Italian Championship. Whether there will be any competitive outings for Cairoli remains to be seen.

Image icon Ducati motocross
Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, said: "I am proud to announce Ducati's entry into Motocross. A completely new world for Ducati, in which we want to bring our talent in the design of lightweight motorcycles, with excellent components and high performance that – above all – 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 made available to fans. This is the reason why we have decided to collaborate with an undisputed champion like Tony Cairoli who, together with the passion and commitment of many of us here at Borgo Panigale, will contribute to making Ducati capable of offering enthusiasts very high-performance products even off-road, just as we have shown we can do on asphalt. 

“This project is made possible by the excellent results of the company in recent years, and confirms our desire to expand our presence to new worlds, talk to new motorcyclists and thus grow the community of Ducatisti."

Antonio Cairoli announced he was leaving KTM yesterday, fuelling speculation that he would join Ducati on their motocross project. That is now confirmed.

Cairoli said: "I am extremely happy to become part of the Ducati universe, which has always been a symbol of ‘Italianness’ in the world, and to embark on this exciting new adventure, in an all-Italian project. Being able to make my contribution to the development of the Borgo Panigale motocross bike is a dream come true and is a source of deep pride for me."

Image credit: Ducati/YouTube