Ducati stepping into motocross got us all excited about potential enduro and rally-raid versions of the Desmo450 X. But when Enduro21 caught five to find out more on a recent Desert Rally X test, we learned prospects are slim with homologation issues and fuel to the fire rally-raid might allow bigger bikes back.

A few days away with Ducati on the world launch of the Desert Rally X proved enlightening for several reasons. Firstly how good they made an adventure bike work on the dirt (we’re working on that, bear with us!) and secondly where Ducati Corse Off-Road might (or might not) be heading next after they’ve nailed the motocross project.

When Ducati announced they were going racing in motocross with an all-new Desmo450 MX and with Tony Cairoli onboard, we weren’t alone in putting two and two together. A new manufacturer in the enduro world championship has already been rumoured but the idea of their heavily developed 450 engine in an official rally bike could be something else.

But while these ideas are not off the table completely, for now at least Ducati told us it’s not happening.

Basically they say it makes no sense to go down the complicated route of a homologated bikes for enduro or to step into rally because – get this – there are rumours around that the 450cc rule might get dropped to allow bigger capacity bikes back into rally in the near future.


Someone will race one in GNCC, surely?

Enduro is not an easy hurdle for a new, 450cc four-stoke motorcycle and though we can’t directly quote the interview, the body language and facial expression of the Ducati employee we chatted to about all this was pretty clear.

The demands to arrive with a bike which will work in a very competitive motocross environment is enough on the plate of Ducati Corse Off-Road, that’s for sure. To add enduro in the equation is a whole different proposition for a manufacturer making step one into off-road, basically because of emissions and street legal homologation.

The option would be there for an XC version we’re saying, where no homologation is necessary like some of the other manufacturers do. And of course where there’s a will, someone will find a way to take a Ducati racing off-road with an 18-inch rear wheel at least. Ducati in GNCC Racing? That would be cool to see.

But in actual enduro and specifically the EnduroGP World Championship as an official team (a rumour we had heard), it ain’t happening it seems.

Rally rumours?

There are rumours the 450 capacity limit in rally-raid will change in the not too distant future too, meaning they have no plans to look at a new rally competition model.

The rule was brought in because races were getting too fast, too many riders were hurting themselves or at worst dying, so they limited the capacity to curb speed and weight.

With the race organisers working much harder in recent years to slow the pace, introduce more navigation into the special stages to make riders slow and look more. It has become safer.

Add in here an increasing number of bigger bikes, like Ducati’s Desert Rally X (see blow), which are capable of doing rally events, and in reality big CC has become a thing again.

Lots of international rally-raid event organisers are allowing big bike classes including the Africa Eco Race on the original Dakar routes where adventure bikes took the entire podium this year, so why not at the Dakar too? It could happen.

With this potentially on the radar Ducati are thinking they actually don’t need to develop a rally version from the new 450 motocross bike, instead they might just have the very tool for the job right here…


Like we said, we tested this Desert Rally X, report coming soon!


Photo Credit: Ducati