Desmosedici first ride countdown: What makes it so special?

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Next Tuesday, as the dust is still settling from the weekend’s MotoGP race at Misano, we’ll be following the wheel tracks of the gods when we get to ride the ultimate MotoGP replica: the Ducati Desmosedici RR.

2007 is undoubtedly the best year Ducati have enjoyed for a very long time: Casey Stoner is utterly dominating MotoGP on his 800cc Desmosedici GP7, the brilliant 1098 is a storming success in the showrooms and the Hypermotard is shaping up to be one of the bikes of the year. And although 999s are struggling in the World and domestic Superbike championships they’ve still won plenty of races, but that could all change with the imminent release of the 1089R.

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In typical Ducati style the Italian are firm signing off from a remarkable 2007 with the launch of the even more remarkable Desmosedici RR, which it reckons laps Mugello a second faster than a 1098S in the hands of test rider, Vito Guareschi 

The 989cc Desmosedici RR is almost a direct copy of the GP6 Desmosedici MotoGP machines raced by Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau in last year’s championship and even shares the same shaped bodywork, chassis layout and V4 engine architecture right down to its bore and stroke. Of course this is a road bike and even complies with tough Euro 3 emission regulations, so while it doesn’t have the outright power of a 260bhp fire breathing 990 MotoGP bike it comes mouth-wateringly close, making an impressive 190bhp. Unlike the real thing, you won’t have to throw the engine away every few hundred miles either.

If you were one of the lucky ones to be in a position to order the Desmosedici before February the price was ‘only’ £37,500, but now you’ll need to stump up a cool £40,000. You need to be quick, too, as Ducati will stop taking orders at the end of the year. So far 1200 orders have been taken worldwide with over 100 of these taken in the UK.

Here’s a rundown on what makes the Ducati Desmosedici RR so special:


Like the 990 Desmosedici GP6 race bike the liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, Desmodromic 16-valve, V4 D16RR has exactly the same ‘long bang’ 989cc capacity and bore and stroke. Like the MotoGP racer the aluminium crankcases and magnesium engine covers are expensively sand cast and it has titanium valves and con rods, a cassette type six-speed gearbox and a hydraulically operated dry slipper clutch.


To keep things neat the 4-2-1 exhaust system’s silencer blends into the Ducati’s carbon fibre tail section, exiting vertically behind vents in the top of the unit. The exhaust complies with Euro 3 regulations but for track use you get a racing silencer and an upgraded ECU, which boosts power up past the magic 200bhp-mark.


In typical Ducati fashion the D16RR uses a steel trellis frame with the same geometry as its GP6 MotoGP bike. The rear subframe and tail unit is a self supporting unit from carbon fibre as is the Alan Jenkins designed fairing.


The fully adjustable 43mm upside down Ohlins FG353 forks with remote gas cartridges and TiN sliders are straight off the this year’s GP7 racer. The rear shock is a fully adjustable Ohlins racing unit.


Wheels are forged and machined magnesium made by Marchesini. The special sized 16-inch rear wheel is shod with a unique 200/55 x 16 BT-01R Bridgestone tyre.


Because a MotoGP carbon brake set-up would be impractical for the road the D16RR uses a conventional 320mm twin steel disc set-up with four-piston Monobloc Brembo calipers. But the MotoGP theme is still here because these are exactly the same as those used on the GP6 in its wet-weather set-up.

In tomorrow’s countdown, Senior Road tester, Michael Neeves recounts his laps riding the factory Desmosedici GP6 MotoGP bike, just a day after it won the final race at Valencia in the hands of world Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss. We’ll find out what is was like to ride to get an insight to what the Desmosedici RR road bike could deliver.