2009 Ducati 1198 Superbike First Look

November 4, 2008
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

2009 Ducati 1198S Superbike
The 2009 Ducati 1198S superbike comes with the Ducati Traction Control as standard equipment.

The Ducati sportbike lineup gets some new additions with the new 1198 Superbike. The Italian firm chose the EICMA 2008 show in Milan to unveil its naked 1098 Ducati Streetfighter, as well as its Superbike models: the 1198 joined by the 1198S, 848, 1098R and a special-edition 1098R Bayliss – celebrating the recently-retired Bayliss and his 2008 SBK championship.

2009 Ducati 1198, 1198S

Even the most faithful Ducatisti could be forgiven for mistaking the 1198 for its nearly identical predecessor – the 1098. Yet Ducati assures riders the new 1198 “is in fact a totally new bike.”

Powered by the latest generation of Testastretta Evoluzione L-Twin, the 1198 produces a claimed 170 horsepower and 97 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with a dry weight of 377 lbs (171 kilos) and the 1198 effectively accomplishes a 1-to-1 metric power-to-weight ratio. The 1198 S goes one better, actually two kilos better, at 372.6 lbs (169 kilos).

2009 Ducati 1198S Superbike
The standard 1198 comes with Showa suspension, while the S version (above) utilizes Ohlins components.

Displacing 1198.4cc the aptly named 1198 sports a 106 x 67.9mm bore and stroke. Ducati’s Desmodromic system moves valves that have been increased to 43.5mm inlet and 35.5mm exhaust and larger elliptical throttle bodies – now the same 63.9mm diameter as the ‘R’ model.

The 1198 Twin delivers a 6.5-lb lighter weight via vacuum die-cast production of the crankcase. The new mill, which was first seen in the 1098R, churns out its power to the same ratio gearbox as the R.

A trellis frame comes in various colors for the five different Superbike models (1198 racing black, 1198S bronze), with the 1198 incorporating a magnesium subframe.

The 1198 standard and ‘S’ chassis differ in the suspension department, with Showa components (43mm fork – titanium-oxide treatment, single rear shock) adorning the standard 1198 and Ohlins providing the units on the ‘S’ model (43mm fork – titanium-nitride treatment, single rear shock). The rear suspension on both units is adjustable for ride-height.

2009 Ducati Testastretta Evoluzione L-Twin powerplant.
The Testastretta Evoluzion L-Twin produces 170 horsepower for the 1198, with a higher-spec version delivering 180 ponies for the high-end 1098R.

Brembo monobloc caliper stoppers adorn both 1198 models. Radially mounted, a pair of four-piston (34mm) calipers bite down on 330mm rotors.

New wheels help reduce weight, with the standard 1198 using 10-spoke grey designs. The ‘S’ benefits from lighter 7-spoke “GP replica” Marchesini hoops (which with a carbon fiber fender account for the S model’s lighter overall weight). Both bikes are fitted with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC rubber – 120/70 ZR17 up front and 190/55 ZR17 out back.

Harnessing the raw power of the Testastretta is Ducati electronics, including the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) system and the Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA). Debuting on the 1098R last year, the DTC system delivers the same traction control developed on Ducati’s successful MotoGP and World Superbike racing programs to a production Ducati Superbike. The DDA system allows riders to retrieve various data, like laptimes, rpm, vehicle speed and more, via USB port to an external computer. The DTC system comes standard now on the 1198S, as well as the 1098R.

2009 Ducati 1098R, 1098R Bayliss Limited Edition

Bayliss poses with his namesake limited-edition Ducati 1098R.
Bayliss with his namesake limited-edition Ducati 1098R.

Billed as “the most advanced, most powerful twin-cylinder motorcycle ever,” the 1098R is Ducati’s purpose-built SBK championship-crushing Superbike. Sourcing the 1198.4cc Testastretta Evoluzione, Ducati engineers squeeze another 10 horsepower (180 total) thanks to titanium valves and con-rods. Fitted with the optional, track-only Termignoni exhaust and ECU race kit and power output vaults even further, to a claimed 186 horsepower.

In honor of Troy Bayliss, who closed out his racing career this season with his third SBK title for the Italian marque, Ducati has created a 500-unit limited edition 1098R sporting the same livery ran at the 2008 Portimao season finale (where Bayliss ended his career with a double-victory performance.) Other perks on the Bayliss machine include the racing exhaust as standard equipment, along with a plaque engraved with the signatures of Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio and Troy Bayliss himself.

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