During World Ducati Week at the Misano circuit in 2004 the Italians made a very important announcement, the Ducati Desmosedici RR project: a very limited edition specially developed production bike that would be a replica of the Desmosedici MotoGP race bike.
The plan was that the homologation special would be as close to a MotoGP machine that a production bike could possibly get, simply put: a race bike with lights, mirrors and a registration plate.
Reservations for the new Ducati Desmosedici RR (Racing Replica) opened in June 2006, with a planned 1500 units up for grabs.
We are going to explore the Ducati Desmosedici RR and see what all the fuss was about, let’s get started.
Ducati Desmosedici RR Review
The MotoGP replica project came pretty quickly after the release of the Desmosedici race bike, which had only debuted itself in 2003.
It was a stunning debut with Capirossi winning the Catalunya MotoGP, clearly the new Italian machine was there to dominate superbike racing and the MotoGP Championship.
The Desmosedici RR was therefore guaranteed to be a hit, with Ducati enthusiasts drooling over the potential of owning essentially what was a MotoGP bike.
When pre-orders were released priority was given first to 999R owners before opening up for public purchase.
Expectations were high and Ducati knew they couldn’t cut corners with the Desmosedici RR, especially with the projected retail price and expectations of it being as close to a MotoGP bike as it could get.
“The philosophy of the Ducati Desmosedici project,” declared Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse Director General, “is best expressed as total integration between engine, chassis and rider. This basic concept has been our philosophy from the very moment that we decided to tackle this new challenge.” webBikeWorld
Ducati didn’t need to do much to the Desmosedici RR to make it road ready as they had already laid the groundwork with the GP6 MotoGP bike.
The engine shares the same 989cc capacity, the same bore x stroke, same twin pulse firing order, titanium valves, titanium con rods and the gear driven cams with the desmo timing system.
Ducati used sand cast aluminum crankcases and a six-speed cassette gearbox.
Service intervals are essential on a Desmosedici RR, it needs to be serviced every 12 months, and at every 7,500 miles the valve clearances need checking, in order to achieve this the mechanic will need to strip the engine. At 22,000 miles the cylinder heads need to be removed and valves de-coked.
The reality is that many owners of a Desmo won’t be riding their motorcycle that hard and racking up the mileage, the truth is most of the 1500 units will be sat in an underfloor heated garage somewhere.
Which is a bit of a shame as this is one Ducati you should be doing a few laps on a circuit as often as you can, testing yourself and the replica MotoGP machine.
It isn’t just the engine that Ducati threw everything into, the chassis and bodywork received the best of the best too.
The geometry is identical to that of the GP machine with a tubular steel trellis frame and self-supporting carbon fiber subframe.
The construction of the chassis in this manner means the frame walks the line between weight and rigidity. The rear seat support built from carbon is another display of how close Ducati were trying to replicate the GP machines, as it is normally only found on race bikes.
Ducati used the aluminum alloy swingarm off the GP machine and matched the length of it too which ensured the right amount of weight and stiffness which translates to excellent weight distribution and traction.
Settings trends Ducati equipped the new motorcycle with Marchesini forged magnesium wheels, it was the first production bike to use them, the wheels were dressed with top of the line Bridgestone tires. In order to slow down these wheels Brembo brakes were fitted, the same spec as what the GP6 machine used in wet conditions.
Öhlins suspension was chosen for the front and rear and continuing with trend-setting pressurized forks were used which were usually reserved for competition use.
The Desmosedici RR received a new exhaust system, which used a 4-2-1 layout, the upper part of the rear tail section received a carbon fiber exhaust heat shield which was inspired by single-seater F1 cars.
Bodywork is typical of Ducati, with vivacious curves, shaped tank and pointed fairing.
To finish off the styling the Desmo came in two versions, the standard painted in Rosso GP colors, and the Team Version which had the Rosso GP paintwork with an added white stripe on the tail section like the Corse bikes.
A special race kit was made available, this included a race-only titanium exhaust system, carbon belly pan and carbon seat unit, bike cover, paddock stand, along with fuel and ignition mapping in a race ECU. A sponsor sticker pack was also included to give the owner the real MotoGP replica feel.
The real question for a motorcycle that is a touted as the closest production bike you can to a real racing bike, is how does it handle?
The Desmo engine has roughly the same power and torque of the current V4 Panigale, arguably it has a slightly more fun sound to it thanks to the twin pulse firing order.
The two machines have a different character and feel however, with the earlier Desmosedici RR having a more aggressive, high-revving approach typical of a GP focused machine.
Ducati managed to produce a bike that is extremely quick off the line with a pace that continues all the way up to top speed.
Whether on road or circuit the Desmosedici RR provides an exhilarating riding experience, however, it is surprisingly user friendly.
Grunt is spread out immediately from first gear, spread out enough to carry you in and out of bends, or away from traffic with absolute ease and pleasure.
Easy and calm to start with, it doesn’t take long for the race replica to turn into an all out racing machine as past 10,000rpm is where the engine comes to life and becomes a serious track warrior.
The bike is deceptively fast, smooth enough to carry you up to speed without you knowing how you got there. The nature of the Ducati Desmosedici RR will have you wanting to swap your Yamaha YZF-R1, Honda Fireblade or any other liter bike on the market today in a heartbeat as it simply feels like the ultimate racer.
The dedicated CPU with race mapping changes the tame nature of the engine at low revs, to make it an all out speed freak allowing no room for tame, around-town cruising.
Ducati have matched the engine’s personality to the perfect chassis. Handling is precise, stable, confident, and intuitive with the track development clearly evident.
Suspension is stiff on the road but exactly what you need on the track and arguably the Brembo brakes are overkill and too sharp for road use but again perfect on a track day.
In terms of agility, it is not as agile in a typical Ducati fashion with their road focused machines, but the agile nature expresses itself as any top of the line GP bike would on the track.
When it comes to comfort the bike is best used for short bursts, comfort was last on the agenda in the Ducati design room.
The seat is hard, pegs pulled back, bars down low and plus there is an abundance of heat coming from the motor and exhaust system. Keep rides short and sweet and you will be more than happy, longer rides will be somewhat challenging.
The overriding theme with the Desmo is that if you don’t take the bike to the track to run some laps you are going to be missing out on the whole purpose of the bike. The entire development of the Ducati Desmosedici RR was to make it just road-legal enough, so the general public could access a genuine racing experience.
Equally unless you are going to push the bike to the lengths a professional racer could then you are unlikely going to be able to truly make the most of this amazing machine. No harm in trying though right?
Where a Ducati 1098 or Yamaha R1 will flatter you with its user-friendly nature the Ducati is quick to tell you that you’re not good enough to ride it. It is the best handling road motorcycle ever built; you just need to be Casey Stoner to appreciate it.MCN
If you fancy your chances of training for a podium the DDA (Ducati Data Analyser) fitted to the bike is a way to help you improve. The digital instrumentation is a minimalist system operated by a simple switchgear with a wide display to show up to six data values at a time.
Data displayed includes: vehicle speed, engine rpm, throttle opening, engine temperature, distance travelled, lap time and number of laps.
This information will help you get the most out of the bike and give you some perimeters to work with on your performance.
The Ducati Desmosedici RR announcement during World Ducati Week was an exciting release, press and public alike were excited as the Ducati GP6 had set the bar for what was expected from the current run of MotoGP machines.
In 2006 with the first models ready for display, the press day at the Italian Grand Prix, Mugello was Ducati’s showcase and increased interest further.
The prospect of getting their hands on a road-going GP replica was tantalising and for many riders it still is, it is one of those motorcycles that made a stir worldwide.
In 2007 Casey Stoner took the Desmosedici GP bike to the track, and by the end of the season he had won Ducati’s first MotoGP World Championship title.
This set pulses racing for those who had got their pre-orders in for the final production version of the RR.
Sure, the Japanese could just as easily build a road-going MotoGP replica …but Ducati is the only manufacturer that would, and make it as close to the real thing as possible. The terms “passion” and “pride” are often a bit over-used in describing Italy’s relationship with its motor vehicles, but the Desmosedici RR is the perfect example of why those two words really do apply to the people who work at Ducati.Cycle World
The truth is that the Italian brands are known for their passion with their projects and it is that pride in their finished work that causes such emotion from owners around the world, for me Ducati’s passion and pride are as much a part of the attraction as the machines themselves.
In 2009 a press announcement was made by Road Racing World which was that there would be a Desmosedici only track day limited to just 75 riders. This would give owners a chance to test their Desmo and skills with exclusive use of the full MotoGP track.
Ducati sold their 1500 units and there are so few on the used market that it would appear that owners are still just as in love with the Desmosedici RR as they were when they were first unleashed.
Ducati Desmosedici RR Top Speed
The Ducati Desmosedici RR is an extremely fast motorcycle, with a top speed of 188 mph it is one of the fastest production bikes you can get, sitting alongside the likes of the Suzuki Hayabusa and the Kawasaki H2.
The Desmosedici RR has a 1/4 mile time of 9.5 seconds at 152 mph. This is just slightly slower than the current Panigale V4 SP2 which has a time of 9.3 seconds at 157 mph.
Ducati Desmosedici RR Specifications
Engine and Transmission
Engine – Four stroke, four-cylinder, DOHC, Desmodromic, 4 valves per cylinder, gear driven camshafts
Capacity – 989cc
Bore x Stroke – 86 x 42.56 mm
Compression Ratio – 13.5:1
Cooling System – Liquid-cooled
Starting – Electric
Induction – 4 x 50mm Magneti Marelli throttle bodies
Transmission – 6 speed
Final Drive – Chain
Clutch – Dry multi-plate slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
Max Power – 200 horsepower at 13,800 rpm
Max Torque – 116 Nm at 10,500 rpm
Top Speed – 188 mph
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame – Tubular steel trellis hybrid, carbon fiber seat support and aluminum swingarm
Front Suspension – Öhlins ‘FG353’ PUFF forks, preload, rebound and compression adjustment with TiN coated sliders
Rear Suspension – Öhlins rear shock with high/low compression adjustment and preload adjustment
Front Brakes – Two Brembo radial monobloc calipers with 4 x 34mm pistons – same as GP6 wet race set up
Rear Brakes – 240mm fixed disc, floating caliper with 2 x 34mm calipers
Rake – 23.5 degrees
Wheelbase – 1430mm/ 56.3″
Seat Height – 830mm/ 32.7″
Dry Weight – 171 kg/ 377 lbs
Fuel Capacity – 15 liters/ 4 Gal.
Finding a Ducati Desmosedici RR For Sale
With such low numbers produced the Desmosedici RR is a coveted motorcycle with many of them in the hands of collectors.
Very few come up for sale and those that do have high price tags which is to be expected.
However, I have scoured the internet for current models up for sale and have found a handful of options.
Classic Driver has 2 examples for sale, one is a 2009 and the other a 2008. Both machines are located in Italy and both appear to be brand new and not ridden with mileage stated as just 1 mile, it is likely these were bought by collectors on release.
The 2009 model is listed for $130,632 and the 2008 model for $112,125.
Southern California Motorcycles have a 2008 model with 687 miles on the clock priced at $89,999.
Pro Italia In Glendale California has a model with 1458 miles on the clock priced at $77,999. Pro Italia is one of the leading dealers for Ducati North America and has been supplying all Italian bikes and parts since 1987.
In the UK Autotrader has one model listed for £60,098 and it is number 489 of the 1500 produced.
There are also 3 bikes listed on Car and Classic with 2 being located in Italy and one in Luxemburg, all are priced at around €100,000.
When you are paying such a high price for what is a collectable iconic motorcycle you need to be sure that it is in pristine condition and equipped with all the OEM parts.
You will want to be sure the extras are included in the price along with any standard parts that may have been swapped out by any owners who did ride the bike at the time instead of preserving it, the exhaust system would be the most obvious thing to check.
How fast was the Ducati Desmosedici RR ?
The top speed of the Ducati Desmosedici RR is around 188 mph.
It is said to do the 1/4 mile in 9.5 seconds at 152.8 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 2.6 seconds. This makes the Desmosedici RR one of the fastest motorcycles of all time.
How many Ducati Desmosedici RR are there?
There were only 1500 units produced of the Ducati Desmosedici RR.
What is the price of Ducati Desmosedici RR?
When new the Desmosedici RR had a price tag of $72,500 in the US and £40,000 in the UK.
Prices today sit around £80,000 in the UK and up to $120,000 in the US.
What is a Desmosedici on a Ducati?
Desmosedici is a shortened term in Italian which means ‘desmodromic distribution with 16 valves’.
The Desmo valve system tracks back to the classic 90 degree L-twin engines. The desmodromic valve is one that is closed by cams and a leverage system as opposed to more conventional springs.
The Desmosedici MotoGP bike was designed using two L-twins next to each other which made a double L-twin, with the cylinders stroking at the same time which is known as having a twin pulse firing order.
The cylinders have 4 valves per cylinder and so have 16 in total all operated by the desmodromic system.
That is how the Desmosedici MotoGP bike got its name and shortly after the Ducati Desmosedici RR.
How much is a Ducati Desmosedici RR worth?
The Desmosedici RR was released with a price tag of $72,500 in the US or £40,000 in the UK. Bought new the bikes came with a three year warranty.
Today buying a Desmosedici RR will set you back anywhere from £60,000-£80,000 in the UK if not more and in the US you will be looking to pay somewhere between $80,000-$120,000.
Who wouldn’t want a Ducati Desmosedici RR? I think you would be mad to not be tempted by one even if Italian bikes aren’t your thing.
The Desmosedici RR is a MotoGP replica that is more than an exercise in style, it is a capable racing bike that frankly could hold its own on the Misano circuit up against its MotoGP brother.
The bike is up there with the classics from Ducati and rightly so, it is a feat of engineering, style and design which stirs me up so much I think I have a twin pulse firing system when I think about it. Now I need to sell my house to get the money together for one!