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2009 Ducati 1198 Preview


by Marc Cantin ,

The 1098 has been an artistic, commercial as well as on-track success, with a dominating 2008 World Superbike Championship, but this most Italian of manufacturers had to do more to keep the success alive, as the competition has been working and pushing hard to catch up.

The 1198 and 1198S look just as appealing as the 2009 1098 models - maybe a little more menacing!

So they did the obvious thing, and launched a "plain" 1198 as well as an Öhlins-suspended and carbon fibre-clad 1198S, with enough evolutionary changes and new features to make a real difference in the performance, look and feel of the machines.

More Motor!
In addition to changes in wheels, trim and other details, the most obvious news is an increase in 1198cc as allowed by Superbike rules, and the corresponding 10hp (To 168) increase in power across the usable rev range. You can assume a similar increase in torque, making slower riding easier and more enjoyable, but not nearly enough to turn these machines into boulevard cruisers - that is clearly not the point!

Extra Features On The S Model
In addition to Öhlins suspensions, the 1198S come with Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Ducati Data Analysis (DDA) systems as standard equipment. When it sense undue wheel spin, the DTC reduces torque by first retarding ignition, and then reducing the fuel flow. This system comes directly from MotoGP, and it means that you can slam the throttle wide open when leaned over and the DTC will optimize torque based on available traction and shoot you out of the corner just like it does Casey Stoner. Your biggest problem will be hanging on to the thing as well as having enough faith to keep it wicked up when reason is telling you that the bike cannot possibly stay upright if you keep the throttle wide open.

The DDA will collect data on your riding, tranfer it to a PC where it can be analysed, so you (Along with everyone else) can see where you could go faster, or at least ride more safely - just like a real racer!

The Brembo brakes will arrest things as effectively as an anchor, and the only non standard item that should be standard, a slipper clutch, will set you back another couple of grand. Ducati have also worked on reliability, to reduce maintenance costs, although if you can afford one and ride like it should be, maintenance costs will not really be an issue.

The bikes will be available in Canada very early in 2009, and MSRP for the 1198 is $19,995, and for the 1198S is $25,995.

2009 Ducati 1198S

Photo Credit : Philippe Champoux, Ducati