First ride: Ducati 749R
The official launch of the Ducati 749R has taken place in Valencia, Spain and MCN's Alex Hearn was there to get the first ride.
Despite the torrential rain Hearn fell in love with the bike instantly: "It really is something special," he said. "It always does exactly what you want it to do and it really flatters your riding."
You can read Alex Hearn's full test of the Ducati 749R in the March 10 edition of MCN.
The special edition 749 has been designed solely with Ducati's return to the World Supersport competition in mind. The WSS rules are very specific about what modifications can be made to a road bike before it can race so Ducati has many high sepc parts and exotic materials.
"It really feels like a race bike. The tank is three litres bigger on the R so it has got a bit more bulk, but when you sit on it, it just fits perfectly.
"The engine is strong through the mid range and really kicks in at the top end, but there is no lumpiness or peaks; the fuelling is spot on. It is so composed that you can feel everything that is going on."
One of the biggest changes to the 749R is the introduction of a slipper clutch, which cuts the amount of engine breaking from the v-twin. "It can take quite a bit of getting used to if you've never used one before. When your entering a corner and change down a gear the clutch slips to stop the back wheel locking up, but it really feels like you've hit a false neutral until the engine speed catches up with the wheel. You find yourself wondering what gear you're in rather than pointing the bike in the right direction."
Ducati have priced the 749R at just over £13,000. Only 150 are coming to the UK.
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