Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ducati Desmosedici RR around the Mulholland Drive

One lucky owner takes his Desmosedici RR around the Mulholland Drive. It's not often that you'd see one of these MotoGP-replica machines being ridden flat-out on the street...
Ducati Desmosedici RR Ducati Desmosedici RR Ducati Desmosedici RR

Today, when all the headlines in Ducati world have been taken by the admittedly incredible 1199 Panigale, perhaps it’s also a good time to look back and, for a brief moment, think about the Desmosedici RR. The first and hitherto the only real MotoGP replica ever sold to the public, the Desmosedici RR was based on Ducati’s 2006 Desmosedici GP6 racebike. Unveiled in 2006, the RR was fitted with a 989cc 90-degree Desmodromic V4 that produced 197 horsepower at 13,800rpm and 116Nm of torque at 10,500rpm. The bike, which complied with Euro 3 emissions norms, cost US$72,500 and was fully street legal.

The Desmosedici RR had a 6-speed cassette-type gearbox, dry multi-plate hydraulically actuated slipper clutch, full carbonfibre bodywork, chrome-molybdenum-steel trellis frame, aluminium swingarm and fully adjustable Öhlins suspension – 43mm FG353 PFF USD forks and monoshock with hydraulic preload and low/high compression damping adjustment. The bike rolled on 17-inch forged and machined magnesium wheels from Marchesini, shod with 120/70 (front) and 200/55 (rear) ZR-rated Bridgestone Battlax BT-01 tyres.

With its dry weight of just 171 kilos, the Ducati Desmosedici RR could accelerate from zero to 160km/h in 5.5 seconds, did the standing quarter mile (400m) in 9.49 seconds and had a top speed of 307km/h. To reign in all that performance, the RR was fitted with top-quality Brembo brakes – twin 320mm discs at the front, with 4-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers, and single 240mm disc at the back, with a twin-piston caliper. Instrumentation was comprised of an all-new, lightweight Ducati Corse electronic multifunction dashboard with LCD 'bar graph’ tachometer, trip/odometer, anti-theft immobilizer and lap time recorder.

The Desmo RR was available in dual-seat and single-seat versions, with the latter being fitted with a louder exhaust, without a catalytic converter, and a slight bump in power output to 200bhp. Ducati only produced 1,500 units of the RR and today, used bikes in good condition are available for about US$55,000-65,000. Compared with the 1199 Panigale, the Desmosedici RR is a bit (7kg) heavier but equally powerful, though we do suppose the Panigale’s electronics package (including sports ABS, traction control, electronic suspension and ride-by-wire set-up) must be significantly more advanced than the RR’s. Of course, with a price tag of US$18,000, the base model Panigale costs only a fourth of the Desmo RR’s price. Even the Panigale S and Tricolore models, at US$23,000 and US$28,000 respectively, are nowhere near as expensive as the MotoGP-replica Desmosedici RR.

If we had the money and if cost was no concern, what would we buy – a brand-new Panigale 1199 Tricolore or a five-year-old Desmo RR, which would be twice as expensive? No question about it, we’d still have an RR, with its unmatched MotoGP credentials...!

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