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2008 Ducati 1098R First Ride Photo Gallery
2008 Ducati 1098R
Ducati's latest Superbike aims for supremacy in the racing world.
2008 Ducati 1098R First Ride
2008 Ducati 1098R Ohlins steering damper.
Another bit of previously unattainable racing technology is the Ohlins TTX36 shock.
The test bikes we had at our disposal at Barber were also equipped with the Factory Race Kit that comes with all 2008 Ducati 1098Rs.
2008 Ducati 1098R
'Ducati is a brand with racing in its DNA,' says Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchico. Doesn't everyone already know that? Just look at the 1098R for proof of how influential this philosophy is to everyone at Ducati.
A handful of the world's moto-press had the opportunity to sample the 1098R at Jerez in January, but the rest of us had to wait a month for our chance to ride Italy's finest at the 16-turn Barber Motorsports road course in Birmingham, Alabama.
As rapidly as this bike approaches corners it's good that it is equipped with some of the best braking components in the business. Four-piston Brembo Monobloc calipers and massive 330mm disc brakes are an incredibly powerful combination on the track.
Since the odds of getting a ride on one of these machines is slim we must take pleasure in the style the 1098R brings to the table.
All the available data offered by the Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA) and the selection of settings is managed through a handlebar-mounted toggles switch on the left bar.
The $39,995 price tag and a limit of 300 units on U.S. shores ensures that only the most serious riders will get to experience it, but there's no harm in dreaming about it.
With eight different settings, the DTC system uses sensors to detect wheel-spin and alters ignition timing to restore traction for improved drives out of the corner.
While the DTC makes the nearly 200 horsepower easy to access, the Evoluzione mill is still a rip-roaring ride like no Twin we've ever ridden before.
Ducati literally rewrote the rules to get its 1098R into the World Superbike ranks and we tested the 1198cc Twin at Alabama's Barber Motorsports Park.
Connecting corners on this Twin takes the Ducati riding experience to the next level.
To take advantage of the increased power output, third-, fourth- and sixth-gear ratios are higher than those on the standard or the S models, while a multi-plate dry slipper clutch helps keep ham-fisted downshifts in check.
As it is, the 1098R powerplant is a massaged version of the standard 1098 motor with titanium conrods, titanium valves, lighter crankshaft and a high-tech traction control system.
After logging a grand total of two hours seat time during six 20-minute sessions on board the 1098R, one thing that really stands out is the usable power it makes through its 10,500 rpm redline.
Decreasing weight was a key element of the 1098R design and the effort to shave lbs paid off with a 4.9-lb (2.2kg) reduction versus the 1098 motor and 12.4 lbs (5.6kg) less than the previous generation 999R engine.
The Ducati Traction Control (DTC) is no cheap substitute. It is the very same system utilized on both Casey Stoner's title-winning Desmosedici and the Ducati Corse World Superbikes.
Once you get the 1098R tipped-in and roll it through any apex, the fun really begins.
Assisting in the Ducati 1098R's excellent handling are the top-line Ohlins suspension components, including the TTX36 shock out back.
Tipped over into the corners, the Ducati 1098R is a stable ride which utilizes the MotoGP-derived DTC (Ducati Traction Control) when powering out of the turn.
Crack the throttle open on the high performance L-Twin and it accelerates as hard or harder, than any of the open class superbikes we've tested.
Thumb the starter and it comes to life with a symphony of sounds, starting with its dry clutch rattling and that wonderful Ducati Twin pulsing out of the dual Termignoni underseat exhaust.
Click the 6-speed tranny into first then drag the clutch to compensate for its tall first gear and soon the party is underway.
Climb aboard this Ducati and it feels exactly like, well, a 1098.
Ducati opened the door to supersize the 1098 and turn it into the machine it hopes will return the company to a position of dominance in superbike racing.
Although the R looks similar to the standard bike, this is a pure homologation special with everything it takes to compete at the highest level of racing right out of the box.
Adorned with carbon fiber and number plates the Ducati 1098R looks the part of a ready-to-race superbike weapon.
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