Ducati has officially confirmed that Valentino Rossi will be integral in developing the next generation of road bikes using technology from his Ducati MotoGP machine.
So, what does that mean for us?
It's thought that the new 1198 sportsbike replacement will have electrically adjustable suspension, just like the hugely successful new Multistrada. This opens up the possibility of the new 1198 having a button that would automatically adjust the suspension and power output to the exact settings that Rossi went fastest on when he tested the bike.
Cosmetic special editions
Ducati chief executive Gabriele del Torchio confirmed they are on the way. He said: “In due time, in due time. Now it’s too early to say, but in due time you can expect to see something.”
Ducati is well known for a long list of bikes celebrating factory racers including Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss, Paul Smart, James Toseland, Neil Hodgson, Mike Hailwood and Ben Bostrom.
At the moment Ducati's SP models are the pinnacle of the range. In future these could become the Rossi Edition, with suspension and traction control (and perhaps even chassis geometry) tuned by the world's greatest ever motorcycle racer. When MotoGP goes back to 1000cc in 2012, there is also the possibility of a Rossi-rep Desmosedici road bike (see main story in this week's MCN).
For the full story on Rossi and his future input on Ducati road bikes, pick up a copy of this week's MCN, on sale Wednesday 19 January 2011.