2008 Ducati 990cc Desmosedici RR
Frame no. ZDM1ZDFW988000449
Engine no. ZDF8000577
Limited edition Grand Prix replica
One of only 1,500 made
Circa 500 miles from new
'As a road bike, the Desmosedici has the potential to genuinely validate the term race replica.' Bike magazine.
It is surely ever true enthusiast's dream to own a genuine Grand Prix motorcycle, though in reality one achievable by only a tiny handful of the most wealthy and well connected cognoscenti. Until the arrival of the Ducati Desmosedici RR, that is. OK, it did cost around £40,000, but all you needed to do was re-mortgage the house... It helped if you already owned a Ducati 999R superbike, their owners being given priority by the factory when ordering. It could be argued that, being road legal, the Desmosedici RR was not quite the real deal, but that did not stop the 1,500 machines planned selling like the proverbial 'hot cakes'.
At the Misano circuit in 2004, Ducati had astonished the motorcycling world by announcing that it intended to offer for public sale a low-volume, road-legal replica of its MotoGP racer. Two years later, in June 2006, Ducati unveiled the production version at the Mugello Grand Prix weekend. The Desmosedici RR was based on the 2006 Ducati GP6, raced that season by works riders Loris Capirossi, Sete Gibernau and, in a season-concluding one-off, Troy Bayliss, who secured his one and only Grand Prix victory in the last race of the 990cc era at Valencia.
Ducati cut remarkably few corners in creating its racer-on-the-road Grand Prix replica, which used basically the same 90-degree V4 engine as the GP6. As delivered, the Desmosedici RR came with a catalytic converter, was Euro 3 compliant, and had a maximum of 188bhp on tap, though when the supplied race pipe was fitted this climbed to 200bhp. The RR's engine was carried in a truncated trellis frame, just like the GP6's, with the aluminium swingarm pivoting directly in the crankcase and the seat formed by a structural carbon-fibre sub-frame a 'first' for a road bike.
There was Öhlins suspension at both ends, offering a mind-boggling range of adjustability, with brakes supplied by Brembo, at the front featuring radial monoblock callipers. The wheels were lightweight magnesium Marchesinis, manufactured by the forging process another road bike 'first'. Carbon fibre was used for the bodywork while the fuel tank was aluminium, the result of all this weight saving enabling the Desmosedici RR to tip the scales at only 171kg (376lb).
In 2006, at Mugello, the motorcycling press at last got its hands on the production Desmosedici. Bike's Mike Armitage was suitably overwhelmed: 'Driving urgently and cleanly from low revs to the 14,200rpm limit, the snarling V4 is a masterpiece of internal combustion, delivering warp-drive, vision-blurring pace through gear ratios closer than any other road bike I can think of. It shoots the digital tacho round the clocks in a quick-fire frenzy, building revs with unrivalled velocity, picking up the front wheel in third gear, and blurring the edges of your vision. It's dominating, intoxicating, beautiful.'
With the tacho showing 13,900 revs in top gear, Mr Armitage saw 301km/h registered on the speedometer, which equates to a real-world 182mph. Had maximum revs been reached, the Desmosedici would have been doing 193mph. Track time for each of the assembled hacks was limited to five laps - 15 miles - which is more than many of the Desmosedici production run have managed to this day.
Number '449' though, the machine offered here, has covered some 500 miles and has been fully serviced with all recall work done. It is fitted with the GP-type racing exhaust system, and has 17" Marchesini wheels front and rear for greater tyre choice (the stock rear is 16"). Offered with a Certificate of Title.
- The frame number is ZDM1ZDFW98B000449. The title is in transit.