MotoGP has long inspired competing manufacturers to implement racing technologies on their road-going motorcycles, but nobody believed (although everybody thought at the idea at least once) that a MotoGP bike will ever be turned into a road-legal one and be sold to those willing to pay the big bucks. Ducati was the first, and currently only, to break the ice in 2007 with the Desmosedici RR, which was derived from the Desmosedici GP6 Grand Prix motorcycle, and in 2009 the world is still amazed of this even being possible, not to mention the bike’s evolution.
Following the example of Ferrari and Lamborghini, Ducati goes exclusive with the Desmosedici RR, as exclusive as a bike developed with Casey Stoner on its back can be. The L-four cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, Desmodromic, four valves per cylinder engine with gear driven camshafts features 86mm bore and 42,56mm stroke, just like on the 2006 MotoGP Ducati (the D16GP6), ending up displacing 989cc. Fed through a Magneti Marelli fuel injection system with four 50mm throttle bodies spraying microjets through their 12-hole injectors and breathing out through a 102 dB race pipe, the extremely refined piece of mechanical engineering develops a mind-blowing 200hp at 13,800rpm and 85,55 lb-ft of torque at 10,500rpm.
The extremely powerful motor works with a cassette type six-speed gearbox and hydraulically actuated dry multi-plate slipper clutch, both units being the closest things you’ll get to those on the racing bike, if not THE real thing.
The engine is used as a stressed member of the tubular steel Trellis hybrid frame, while the rest of the chassis is the same as on the 2006 MotoGP one. You get the 43 mm upside-down Ohlins FG353P pressurized forks (PFF), with TiN coated sliders, which are fully adjustable in preload, rebound and compression, while the rear shock is also provided by Ohlins and is rebound, low/high speed compression adjustable and hydraulic preload adjustable.
Completing the overall racing scenario are the Brembo brakes. Up front, these feature four-piston Monobloc calipers squeezing a pair of 330mm semi-floating discs bolted on the Marchesini wheel with a racing look to it. At the back you get a caliper with two 34mm pistons and only a 240mm disc, enough to get the job done, according to Ducati.
The dry weight is a claimed 377 pounds, allowing the Desmosedici to be not only characterized by an unbelievable power-to-weight ratio, but by an excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio too.
Representing Ducati’s highest end in matter of supersport motorcycles, the 2009 Desmosedici RR features both a Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Ducati Data Analyser (DDA), the first being supposed to prevent the bikes rear wheel from sliding and the other gathering data so that riders can see where they can improve right after getting off the bike. The system records approximately 3.5 hours of vehicle speed, engine rpm, throttle opening, engine temperature, distance travelled, laps and lap times, giving a new meaning to the word feedback.
In 2004, Ducati first announced that a road-legal version of the Desmosedici MotoGP race bike was to be produced. Two years later at the 2006 Italian MotoGP event at Mugello, the Bologna house officially launched the Desmosedici RR (Racing Replica) and the bike started being produced at the end of 2007. Only 1500 units have been made.
Ever since the original introduction, the Ducati Desmosedici RR managed to distinguish not only due to the impressive performance numbers and MSRP, but thanks to the amazing racing look given to it by designers. By simply looking at the bike, it’s impossible not to spot the similarities with the D16GP6 race version. In fact, if we were to call a single bike on this planet a racing one with headlights, mirrors and a license plate, this would be it.
With a 56.3-inch wheelbase, a 32.6-inch high seat and wide bodywork, this is definitely a decently-sized motorcycle that simply couldn’t have ended up looking so good from the very first year of manufacturing if not derived from the MotoGP one.
The 17-inch, 7-spoke Marchesini wheels look racy, but massive too, as they measure 120mm up front and 200mm at the rear in width. What’s in between the wheels is the most important, the extremely aggressive and yet smooth fairing looks like being designed by the air jet in the aerodynamic tunnel. The air intake (or mouth) found between the headlights (or eyes) look like concessions for street-legality, not to mention the mirrors with those stylish integrated signal lights. The screen is much smoother than on the race bike, allowing a tight space between it and the 4 gallons tank. This last is positioned low, indeed, but it is fairly robust and quite simple.
Finally, we get to see a high-end Ducati that doesn’t feature the single-sided swingarm and also one that, despite being a single seat version and featuring an underseat exhaust, doesn’t feature the tall tail section. This makes for a clean overall look that was achieved with aerodynamics in mind.
Body colors available are Rosso GP and Red with white stripe, both featuring the GP Red frame and Black wheels. Also, both models feature a carbon fiber front fender.
The Ducati Desmosedici RR feels exactly like a MotoGP bike from the very first moment on it. While the ergonomics won’t kill anybody, the racing engine is definitely the most amazing part of it simply because it develops 200hp at the crank and never stops delivering the best of it. Straight from idle, the bike will go like a rocket and remain consistent all across the 14,000rpm powerband. We really must say that despite the horsepower number sounding nuts, the bike won’t scare any professional rider (after all, it was developed for this category of motorcycle riders) because the power delivery is linear and virtually never ending. We appreciate the instant throttle response and smooth fueling, but also the healthy kick that you get at around 10,000rpm.
Immediately after releasing the dry multi-plate slipper clutch and opening the throttle, everything in front of you starts dissipating and the track looks like a tunnel, sometimes a twisted one, but definitely a tunnel towards the finish line. Nothing else can be heard apart from the engine’s powerful roar, which determines a skilled rider to push the bike even further. The greatest thing is that as much as you’d try to ride it to the limit, it will uncover your limits and that’s when you start thinking how useful the DDA system actually is.
We rarely felt the DTC system intervening, but have to admit that mid-corner throttle opening wasn’t part of our plan, given the huge retail price. This bike makes a rider feel like an integrated part of it and is there to get you at the slightest mistake.
We were extremely impressed by the engine’s much more friendly performance than we anticipated, but what strikes the most is, without a doubt, the chassis. This feels very stiff, exactly like the one of the MotoGP bike and enables the rider to push this exclusive piece of machinery further and further and still feel like it can do more. The suspension transmits every single track imperfection through your entire body (speaking about feeling like part of the bike) and the performance brakes allow the rider to hit them as fast as possible before corners and still survive.
Although it feels slightly rudimentary, the chassis only requires riders to lean more into a corner and get the job done rather that chicken out and start breaking, falling and then breaking their bones.
Wind protection is excellent simply because the aggressive riding position doesn’t let much of the rider’s body stick out and the bike feels extremely competitive, but also fairly harsh after a demanding 10-lap single race.
Imagine how you’ll feel riding an F1 car on the streets and that’s when you’ll get an accurate impression of how the Desmosedici RR feels when actually hitting the road. Every single corner or straight portion of the road transforms into your own personal challenge simply because no other vehicle on the road will manage to keep up with you.
The bike’s $72,500 MSRP excludes me from the buyer’s list, but given the fact that the entire 500 units for the United States sold out in five hours when the Desmosedici RR was originally introduced, the bike is sure to find its customers extremely easy.
Riding a Ducati Desmosedici RR is an opportunity that is met once in a lifetime by us mortals and, in the end, the bike leaves us with a sweet taste. It will always stand out as the ride that we weren’t suppose to get and yet we did, just as it will do with owners after they buy one of the few models available.
Engine and Transmission
Type: L-4 cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, Desmodromic, 4 valves per cylinder, gear driven camshafts
Bore x Stroke: 86 x 42,56mm
Compression Ratio: 13,5:1
Power: 147.1kw - 200hp @ 13800rpm (with 102 dB race pipe)
Torque: 11,8 kgm - 85,55 lb-ft @ 10.500rpm
Fuel injection: Four 50 mm Magneti Marelli throttle bodies, 12-hole "microjet" with injectors over throttle, manual idle control
Exhaust: 4 into 2 into 1 vertical exit exhaust/silencer
Gearbox: 6 speed Cassette type
Ratios: 1st 37/15, 2nd 30/17, 3rd 28/20, 4th 26/22, 5th 24/23, 6th 23/24
Primary drive: Straight cut gears, Ratio 1.84:1
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 16; Rear sprocket 44
Clutch: Dry multi-plate slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis hybrid
Wheelbase: 1430 mm / 56.3 in
Rake: 23,5° / 24,5°
Front suspension: Ohlins FG353P forks 43 mm pressurized, with preload, rebound and compression adjustment, TiN coated sliders
Front wheel travel: 120 mm / 4,7 in
Front brake: 2 x 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers 4-piston.
Front wheel: Marchesini forged and machined magnesium alloy wheels, with 7 spoke design as GP6
Front tire: Bridgestone 120/70 R17
Rear suspension: Ohlins rear shock, with rebound, low/high speed compression adjustment, and hydraulic preload adjustment. Aluminium swingarm.
Rear wheel travel: 120 mm / 4.7 in
Rear brake: 240mm fixed disc, calliper with two 34mm pistons
Rear wheel: Marchesini forged and machined magnesium alloy wheels, with 7 spoke design as GP6
Rear tire: Bridgestone 200/55 R16
Fuel tank capacity: 15L (of which 4L reserve) / 4 US gal (of which 1 US gal reserve)
Dry Weight: 171 kg - 377 lbs
Seat height: 830 mm / 32.6 in
Instruments: Digital MotoGP derived unit displaying: Speedometer, 2 partial speedometers (Trip A and Trip B), trip fuel, rev counter, speed, clock, scheduled maintenance warning, engine cooling water temperature, air temperature, battery status (in the menu), Lap time, warning light for low oil pressure, fuel level, fuel reserve, lights, turn signals, neutral, over rev, vehicle diagnosis, engine diagnosis and immobilizer
Warranty: 3 years unlimited mileage
Versions: Single seat