With a 21-inch front wheel, an 18-inch rear hoop, and rally-inspired styling, the Ducati DesertX leans heavily into the Dakar aesthetic. Unfortunately, the 937cc V-twin is a tad oversized for the World’s Toughest Motor Race. The DesertX may not be able to line up at the Dakar starting line, but Ducati knows how to appeal to Dakar fans.
Audi entered three RS Q e-tron into the 2022 Dakar Rally to showcase the firm’s electric tech. However, the e-tron doesn’t solely rely on an electric power train. Paired with Audi’s two-liter, turbocharged, inline-four, the 52-kWh battery pack powers the RS Q to 610 horsepower. The e-tron trio racked up 15,000 miles throughout the 2022 Dakar Rally on the way to four stage wins and fourteen podiums.
Of course, Audi’s sister brand, Ducati, wasn’t able to leverage the Dakar Rally as a stage for the DesertX, but that doesn’t stop the Bologna brand from aligning the new adventure bike with the RS Q e-tron. If that Dakar adjacency isn’t enough, Ducati enlisted former MotoGP rider, current Ducati MotoAmerica rider, and recent Dakar stage-winner Danilo Petrucci to pilot the rally-style ADV.
Petrux may have ridden a KTM 450 Rally to a stage-five victory, but the Ducati DesertX still impressed the accomplished rider. Decked out in a matching REV’IT! Kit, number 9 slid and jumped the DesertX around pristine Sardinian trails alongside legendary World Rally driver Carlos Sainz.
To drive home the partnership, Ducati adorned the new adventurer in an RS Q e-tron-livery. The black, white, and red color combination certainly modernizes the DesertX’s neo-retro design. Unfortunately, Ducati hasn’t added the special paint job to the bike’s color options. While we won’t have the pleasure of seeing the Ducati DesertX tackle the World's Toughest Motor Race, it seems like Dakar Rally riders and drivers still stand by the platform’s pedigree.