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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Sep 29, 2019

Dovizioso: Barcelona “cut off our legs” in title fight


Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso says he believes his MotoGP title chances effectively ended as early as June’s Barcelona round after another race in which Marc Marquez extended his points advantage.
Despite a strong recovery ride to second, Dovizioso could offer no challenge to a dominant Marquez in last weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix, as the Spaniard romped to his eighth triumph of the season by a little under five seconds.

It means Marquez has a commanding 98-point lead in the championship over Dovizioso, who has won only two races this year, with only 125 points left up for grabs in the remaining five rounds of 2019.

As well as Ducati’s well-documented performance struggles, the Italian’s title bid has been hampered by crashes at Barcelona, where he was caught up in a multi-bike melee triggered by Jorge Lorenzo, and Silverstone, where he was an innocent victim of Fabio Quartararo’s first-corner fall.

Reflecting on the state of play in the championship, Dovizioso highlighted those DNFs, but also admitted he has only been able to challenge the Honda man on-track “in flashes”.

“I am not one who finds excuses and I don’t want to start now,” said the Italian. “But when free zeroes arrive in the championship, that don’t depend on you, it changes everything.

“Until Barcelona we were behind, but close [12 points]. The incident there cut off our legs, but anyway we were not close to Marc like last year.

“We were only able to challenge him in flashes in the middle part of the season, then the crash at Silverstone happened. But don’t want to say that without those two incidents I would be able to challenge Marc, because we only finished ahead of him in Austria.

“This is the reality and we have to be better in certain aspects that we are aware of. But nobody at the moment is beating Marc, so we [all] have to find some solutions.”

Marquez will have his first chance to wrap up the title next weekend in Thailand, where he only needs to outscore Dovizioso by two points to put a sixth MotoGP crown beyond doubt.

“It will be very difficult but nothing is impossible, so we will try to the end,” said Dovizioso of his chances of delaying his rival’s coronation at the Buriram track.

“Here we didn’t arrive too optimistic and the practice sessions didn’t go very well, but at the end we came second and this shows that we shouldn’t give up.

“We understand quite well what is happening and we work calmly, in the races we almost always bring home the maximum.”

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