Ducati CEO and president, Federico Minoli (left), was present at the Laguna Seca press intro for the coveted Desmosedici RR. During the event Minoli was gracious enough to answer some questions about the much-anticipated machine.
The limited-edition Ducati Desmosedici RR, a street-legal replica of the Italian firm’s MotoGP racing machine, catapulted into the imagination of many riders as the lust object of preference when it broke wrapper some two months ago. We at MotorcycleUSA were not immune to the siren song of the $65,000 machine, so when we were invited to the intro at Laguna Seca, we took up more than a few spots on the guest list. Hobnobbing with fellow journalists and photographers, some rather attractive ladies brandishing Ducati Hottie T-shirts, and a legion of sharp-dressed Ducati people; we got the opportunity to steal some time with the biggest fish in attendance, Ducati executive Federico Minoli, who answered our questions and dispelled some rumors about the grand Desmo RR endeavor.
MCUSA: (Federico clarified the first misconception right off the back, in regards to its limited-edition status) You’ve released the RR already and you’re making 400 models…
Federico Minoli: Well, we didn’t say that. This is all sand-cast, the engine, so the technology implies this will be a limited edition, but we did not commit to any specific number.
The Desmosedici RR is a pretty picture, but unless you reside a tax bracket occupied by the upper crust of society, a picture is all you’re going to get.
MCUSA: So you took orders for 400?
FM: Well we took orders for actually more than that. The ordering is still going on, so we don’t know, but this is a technology that will not allow us to produce more than a handful of them. I think it was clearly well above our expectations, the success of this bike.
MCUSA: When you were developing this, was it just a straight copy of the GP bike?
FM: Yeah, that’s it exactly. Our idea was let’s change as little as possible. Of course we had to put the lights in. Although the engine is quite different, because this is a prototype engine and this is a road engine, it still was above 200 horsepower, which makes it, I think, the most powerful bike.
MCUSA: Have both your GP riders, Gibernau and Capirsossi ridden it?
FM: No, only the tester, Guareschi [Vittoriano Guareschi – Ducati‘s official test-rider]. They [Capirossi and Gibernau] are going to do it, but in due time. I think that we don’t want to distract them from what they are doing, but all the official testers that did test the bike, they liked it. The feeling that gives the noise and everything else is what it should be.
Minoli says the roaring V-Four, which generates the freakish claimed horsepower numbers of the RR, won’t work its way into any other Ducati designs, assuring us that the trademark Twin will remain the Duc powerplant of choice.
MCUSA: But even though it’s loud and powerful it still meets the emissions standards?
FM: Yes, of course. We will give it with a racing kit, so it can or cannot depending on how loud you want to do it. But the version which we sell to the public [comes] with an accessory kit, included in the price, that is street legal.
MCUSA: Do you anticipate next year, when the MotoGP class will change to 800cc machinery, changing the RR?
FM: No, we don’t. I think that more than being kind of a commercial proposition, this is really a matter of pride, and a matter of stubbornness in a way. We never do anything on the race track that we don’t replicate on the road. So, this one will not distract us from the Twin, that is going to be our staple. This is going to remain a one-of-a-kind, you know, I think that is where the appeal is.
MCUSA: So the V-Four isn’t going to be showing up in any…
MCUSA’s half-joking request to snag an RR for testing purposes was met with the same response a teenager would receive if they asked their parents to get them a Porsche for their 16th birthday: laughter, humorous remark, the sound of reality crushing the dreams of the stupid, then more laughter.
FM: No. No, it’s not going to do that. It is just too expensive for us to produce. Really our history is in the Twin and so we’ll stay there. Our Twin seems to be doing pretty well [smile and laughter].
Considering the $65,000 asking price and at least 400-plus machines on order, which tallies up to at least 26 million in sales, the RR project seems to be doing pretty well too. A huge success without even one bike yet delivered into the hands of expectant purchasers, the first true GP replica machine has garnered plenty of attention in the industry, not to mention the pure goo-goo ga-ga factor the machine will have on the already loyal Ducatisti. The RR makes grown men swoon, leading a particularly expressive admirer at the intro to label the red machine “a rolling orgasm.”
Other riders have backed up similar sentiments with their pocketbook, with Southern California Ducati dealer and press fleet manager, Tom Hicks, confirming he has received 13 deposits for the ultra-sleek machines. Minoli himself later went on to explain the unexpected response for the bike, which included one man who wanted one machine to look at, one to ride, and another as a spare just in case. Sorry, Daddy Warbucks, only one per person. Set for delivery to prospective customers in the summer of 2007, some of the wealthier set will have a new gem in the garage. While at the intro we did our best to wrangle an RR for our own official testing purposes. Don’t hold your breath, though, I’m not sure but I think the “Sure, I got six of ‘em just waiting in the press fleet” statement was spoken in a polite yet sarcastic tone. I guess we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
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