Nov 16, 2019

Valencia MotoGP: Can Ducati deny Marquez the perfect season?


With a MotoGP Triple Crown on the line Marc Marquez and Honda have the opportunity to complete a perfect 2019 - but can Ducati spoil the party in Valencia?

Marc Marquez has the opportunity to close out a perfect MotoGP campaign in 2019 if he can help Repsol Honda seal the world teams’ title and duly complete its Triple Crown.

Having already sealed the world riders’ and constructors’ crown back in Thailand and Japan respectively, Marquez set a new all-time points scoring record by moving on to 395 points thanks to second place at the Malaysian round last time out.

With just one piece of his perfect 2019 missing, Marquez and Repsol Honda actually took a small step back in the teams’ fight against the factory Ducati squad at Sepang.

While the 26-year-old bagged 20 points with second place, plus team-mate Jorge Lorenzo’s contribution of two points in 14th place, Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso (third) and Danilo Petrucci (ninth) combined tally of 23 points saw the Italian team extend its advantage to a slender two-point lead heading into the season finale.

As a result it sets up a genuinely tight contest for the MotoGP teams’ world championship in Valencia and while the crown would act as small comfort to Ducati it would deny Repsol Honda and Marquez their a triple hat-trick – a third consecutive MotoGP Triple Crown following up its 2017 and 2018 feats.

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Nov 10, 2019

Ducati's latest concepts take the Scrambler name in two directions


One is for the desert, and the other belongs on a track



 

The two concept motorcycles Ducati teased in October 2019 were unveiled during the 2019 EICMA show taking place on the outskirts of Milan, Italy. Named Desert X and Motard, respectively, they're based on the existing 1100 and 800 variants of the Scrambler.

Official details and photos about the design studies are shockingly scarce. We know the Desert X draws inspiration from the Ducati-powered models that have previously competed in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally. Riding on knobbly tires, it wears white body panels accented by retro-styled red, gray, and black stripes, and it features a futuristic interpretation of the twin round headlights seen on models like the Cagiva Elefant that took first in the 1990 Paris-Dakar. The bike was proudly sponsored by cigarette maker Lucky Strike, but Ducati unsurprisingly chose not to link arms with the company in 2019, and it decided to leave its logos off the body panels.

Like the Scrambler 1100, the Desert X is powered by an air-cooled, 1.1-liter two-cylinder engine. Technical specifications remain under wraps, but the stock 1100 offers riders 86 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 65 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm.  The concept was designed for long-distance travel, so Ducati added a second fuel tank under the saddle to increase its range. An upswept exhaust and a skid plate ensure the drivetrain doesn't have an expensive encounter with a rock.

The Motard concept takes the Scrambler nameplate in a completely different direction than the Desert X. It's dropped on slick tires provided by Pirelli, and it's fitted with a pair of hand guards on the handle bar. The racing regalia suggests it was designed to hit the track.

The Motard shares an air-cooled, 803cc two-cylinder engine with the Scrambler 800 it's based on. Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to its horsepower and torque outputs. Keep in mind the Scrambler 800 generates 73 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 49 pound-feet of torque at 5,750 rpm.

It's easy to picture the Desert X locking horns with Honda's Africa Twin as a more off-road-friendly alternative to the Desert Sled, which is also an evolution of the Scrambler, but Ducati hasn't revealed what the future holds for its two design studies. We'll learn more about them in the coming months.


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