Well, that all happened very quickly! Only a few months after showing off its first modern single-cylinder engine, and only a few weeks after confirming a closely-related version of that engine would power a motocross bike, we now see Ducati revving up to tackle the Italian motocross championship aboard its Desmo450 MX.
What, exactly, is the Desmo450 MX? We aren’t 100 percent sure. We know it has a desmodromic top end, as the name implies. This style of valve actuation works without valve springs, and is therefore able to rev higher without valve float. Ducati has been using desmo top ends for years on its superbikes, and they make no shortage of horsepower.
As for the Desmo450 engine, we can also surmise it’s a 450 and entered into the 450 motocross class, and we know it has a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine. And that’s about it. Ducati hasn’t given us an interminable teaser campaign, like Triumph did with its just-introduced motocross program.
We can see some of the third-party components that Ducati uses, of course—an Akrapovic exhaust, a Showa fork (and presumably a Showa shock as well). There’s a sticker for a DID chain, along with Excel rims and Pirelli tires. This is a racebike, so maybe a production version of the bike will have different components, remember.
This bike will see its debut in the Italian Motocross Pro Prestige MX1 championship on March 16-17. Alessandro Lupino will ride the bike in the season opener; Antonio Cairoli will assist with bike development off the track. It’s an ambitious move, running a 450 instead of entering the 250 class, but Ducati is at least taking its time by first entering the national championship, instead of attacking an FIM international series.