WSB star Neil Hodgson is having a limited edition Ducati 996 made in his honour.
Hodgson, a hot tip for success at the Brands Hatch WSB round on July29, rides a 996S in the championship.
Unlike either the 1998 916SPS Fogarty replica, which was made by the factory to homologate a new frame and airbox for WSB racing, or Foggy’s latest special, the Fogarty Monster S4, the Hodgson rep will be put together in the UK rather than at the Italian factory.
The bikes will be converted from standard 996S models – the second model in the range after the new 996R, and the same machine that Hodgson’s real WSB racer is based on.
They will be made by Ducati’s factory-owned UK subsidiary, with the support of the firm’s Italian bosses – so you can expect to the same back-up as with any other official Ducati.
The final specification of the bike as yet to be decided, and even Ducati UK doesn’t know how many will be built, but if you want one, you had better be quick as the firm’s Luke Plummer says there will only be a " very limited run. "
The bikes are expected to cost between 10 and 15 per cent more than a stock 996S at around £13,500.
Of course, the first thing to grab your attention is the paint, which is identical to this year’s GSE Racing Ducatis, as ridden by Hodgson and James Toseland in the WSB championship – regardless of what else makes it to the final version, the colour scheme is guaranteed. As a paintjob like this could set you back £1000 on its own, suddenly the bike starts looking like more of a bargain.
Under that distinctive skin there are plenty of other changes. Plummer said: " The prototype has only been made to gauge public reaction to the idea, so the final version may not have exactly the same alterations – but it will have considerable upgrades over the standard bike. "
Of the prototype’s alterations, some are almost certain to appear on the production machines. The full Termignoni race exhaust system is likely to remain – giving the bike a WSB soundtrack to match its racetrack looks.
Other features on the display bike include a selection of carbon-fibre accessories including carbon intake ducts and side panels under the fuel tank, as well as a carbon-fibre clutch cover instead of the stock alloy one.
Those Termignonis should improve the gas-flow through the engine, and will be matched with a revised engine management chip to maximise the gain. Expect to see a 5-10bhp increase over a stock, 123bhp 996S.
Don’t forget, we have a live webchat with Neil Hodgson this Thursday (July 26) in advance of the Brands Hatch WSB round. Check back here for times and details.