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Ducati announces MX ambitions with Tony Cairoli

We didn't see this coming! Ducati has announced it's building a dirt bike platform with former MXGP champion Tony Cairoli leaving KTM to help them with development.

In a shock announcement, KTM dropped that long-time collaborator and former MXGP champion Tony Cairoli was leaving his position as team manager with the brand. And now we know why.

As they say, Blood runs thicker than water, and the Sicilian rider has split from his long-time Austrian partners at KTM to join his Italian countrymen in Borgio Panigale as part of Ducati’s fledgling MX efforts. The Italian brand has quietly been working away for the past two years on a new MX platform, which it has announced will debut as part of next year’s Italian Motocross Championship.

Like Triumph Motorcycles, which will also debut its new dirt platform next season, Ducati’s is a multi-year project that will see the creation of a complete range of off-road engines and motorcycles. Ducati is aiming for the models to gradually become part of a family of knobby motorcycles branded Ducati, starting within the motocross arena.

Nine-time Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli will shift from his management role at KTM to join Ducati as a high-performance test rider for the new project. With his help and expertise, the Italian brand is sure to get a big leg up on the development of its new range of dirt bikes.

“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, Cairoli said of the new venture. “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.”


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

We can expect Ducati to not enter the motocross paddock half-arsed with the brand outlining the project’s goals as “a combination of the search for lightness pushed to the extreme, top-of-the-line components and engines characterized by a very broad power delivery curve.”

Interestingly, the latter is set to be obtained thanks to the use of the Ducati’s Desmodromic valve system,which is used on all the sports bikes of the Bologna-based company starting from MotoGP.

”I am proud to announce Ducati's entry into Motocross, Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, commented. “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. The project is possible thanks to the company's excellent results in recent years and confirms our desire to extend our presence into new worlds, speak to new motorcyclists and therefore grow the Ducati Community.”

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