CW RealTime: 2008 Ducati 1098R - First Look

On track in Jerez with Ducati’s sharpest tool yet.

CW RealTime: 2008 Ducati 1098R - First Look

Last November at the massive EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, Ducati shocked the moto-press with news of the new 1098R. Priced at $39,995, it’s a Superbike with just enough street equipment to satisfy homologation standards.

Ducati calls the 1098R “the most powerful twin-cylinder motorcycle ever built.” That’s a heady claim, but the 1198cc powerplant is rated at 180 hp, just 20 ponies down on the MotoGP-derived, four-cylinder, 990cc Desmosedici RR. Further, claimed dry weight is a svelte 365 pounds. To manage that impressive power-to-weight ratio, the R’s race kit—included with each bike—features a competition ECU with adjustable traction control.

This week, Associate Editor Mark Cernicky and Technical Editor Kevin Cameron attended the 1098R press introduction in Jerez, Spain. We've set up a forum for you to post questions and read the latest feedback from the CW editors who were on the scene.

Check out the coverage of the 2008 Ducati 1098R in our Cycle World forum!

Rear view reveals blacked-out single-sided swingarm and top-shelf Öhlins shock.

Associate Editor Mark Cernicky puts the Ducati to the test on-track.

Cernicky spent lots of time trying different traction-control settings. He noted that he could hold the throttle on later into the corner and get on the gas sooner with the electronic aid. Note deep sump poking out from fairing bottom.

DOTs vs. slicks: Cernicky engages Ducati factory racer Michel Fabrizio in side-by-side action.

A 1098R and its race-ready sibling sit under the flying-saucer-like media center at Jerez.

The 1098R?s gearbox has special ratios and hardened gears to meet the demands of racing.

Left-side shot shows some of the 1098R?s premium components, such as the 43mm TiN-coated Öhlins fork and forged "Y-spoke" Marchesini wheels.

Termignoni exhaust is part of the race kit, which, in addition to providing the rider with eight different traction-control settings, unlocks eight additional horsepower.

Front view of 1098R shows special racing livery with big number plate. Bodywork isn?t carbon-fiber but rather a lighter, stronger plastic called Terblend. This model is only available in red.

Ducati claims this is the first application for Brembo?s latest monobloc brake calipers.