The Ducati Desmosedici Story
If you’re not aware of the Ducati Desmosedici, it’s the name of Ducati’s series of 4-Stroke V4 Prototype Motorcycles. These were developed exclusively for racing, entry and competition in the MotoGP World Championship
At the start of the 1970’s Ducati deserted the Grand Prix racing scene as for many years the GP 500 class was a class for two-stroke bikes only, an engineering technology that was far apart from the four-stroke road-going machines sold by Ducati. They focused on the World Superbike, of course taking championships and winnings (reference Carl Fogarty). However, in 2002 the GP class technical rules changed giving right of way to four-stroke machinery and turning the 500 class of elite world road racing into the MotoGP Championship. This change was all Ducati needed to make a much anticipated return to the new MotoGP class.
It was back in 2001 by the talents of Alan Jenkins, where the Ducati Desmosedici design was actually born. In 2002 during the Italian MotoGP at Mugello the bike was unveiled announcing its use in the following seasons MotoGP World Championship–2003. The Ducati Corse test rider Vittoriano Guareschi followed every phase of the Desmosedici development process from early testing to track début and the project’s evolution understanding every aspect of its character. Proudly, in 2007, Ducati’s young Australian rider Casey Stoner, on a Desmosedici, gave Ducati’s first ever MotoGP World Championship title—yes a most amazing happy ending to this ‘sedici’ magic tale.
As always, Ducati bring their product to us, the regular rider and in 2004, announced that they would be producing in extremely limited quantity, made to order replica of the Desmosedici, available in 2006. Named the Desmosedici RR (Racing Replica), it was claimed to be the first true road replica of a MotoGP race bike. Priority for ordering was given to Ducati 999R owners, with production projected at one bike per day at a retail cost of US 72,500 and GB 40,000. The price included a three year warranty and servicing, cover plus a racing kit including an exhaust and an improved electronic control chip. Production has been limited to 1500 motorcycles.
The first customer orders left Italy in January 2008 where Ducati guaranteed customer orders will be fulfilled by the end of 2008. Ducati’s allocation for the United States sold out in five hours—where even Tom Cruise bought one and actually received the very first production RR.
In the Italian language Desmosedici means desmodromic distribution with sixteen valves—sedici — sixteen, yes “sweet” sixteen.
Here are the specifications from the 2007 Desmosedici RR:
- Type double L-Twin (4 cylinder “twin pulse”), liquid-cooled, DOHC, Desmodromic, four valves per cylinder, gear-driven camshafts
- Displacement: 989 cc (60.4 cu in)
- Power: 147.1 kW (197.3 bhp) @ 13,800 rpm
- Torque: 11.8 kg•m (85 ft•lbf) @ 10,500 rpm
- Fuel injection: Four 50 mm (2.0 in) Magneti Marelli throttle bodies, 12-hole “micro jet” with injectors over throttle, manual idle control
- Exhaust: ‘4-into-2-into-1’ vertical exit exhaust/silencer
- Gearbox: 6-speed; Cassette type
- Clutch: Dry multi-plate slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
- Body: Full carbon fibre bodywork
- Frame: Tubular steel trellis hybrid, carbon fibre seat support, aluminium swing arm
- Front Suspension: Öhlins ‘FG353’ PFF forks USD 43 mm (1.7 in) pressurized, with pre-load, rebound and compression adjustment, TiN coated sliders
- Front Wheel: Marchesini forged and machined magnesium alloy wheels, with 7 spoke design as GP6
- Rear Suspension: Öhlins rear shock, with rebound, low/high speed compression adjustment, and hydraulic preload adjustment
- Rear Wheel: Marchesini forged and machined magnesium alloy wheels, with 7 spoke design as GP6
- Tires: Bridgestone, front 120/70 R17- rear 200/55 R16
- Front Brake: Two Brembo radial “monoblock” callipers with four 34 mm (1.3 in) pistons; two semi-floating 320 mm (13 in) x 6 mm (0.24 in) discs, with machined flange: the same as GP6 wet race set-up
- Rear Brake: 240 mm (9.4 in) fixed disc, fixed calliper with two 34 mm (1.3 in) pistons
- Fuel tank: aluminium alloy
- Dry Weight: 171 kg (377.0 lb)
- Colours: Two versions — 1) Desmosedici RR: Rosso GP with a white number plate on the tail section; 2) Desmosedici RR “Team Version”: Rosso GP with broad white fairing stripe
- Versions: Single-seat with racing exhaust (102 dB) – without catalytic converter. A team sponsor decal kit will be provided with each bike.