Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dream of a Ducati

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dream of a Ducati

Article excerpt

Byline: By Harriet Ridley

The snarl from the twin cylinders, the exquisite shudder of torque and power at my fingertips ( enough to send my senses into overload.

The handling's sublime, with brakes so sharp they could stop an overcrowded TGV in its tracks.

I could ride this adrenaline-charged racing steed forever.

You will have guessed by now that I am riding this year's most important motorcycle, Ducati's 1098.

Ducati has pinned the Italian factory's future and the overturn of its flagging fortunes on this bike ( fortunes that plummeted with the 2004 launch of the 999.

Before this, Ducati had earned its place in the history books with the 1993 launch of its iconic 916. The 996 followed in 1996, then the 998 in 2002. All three versions shared Massimo Tamburini's stunning design.

But under new ownership, Ducati decided it was time for an overhaul. Cue the 999 with a mind-blowing Testastretta engine and high-class chassis. But its dubious looks provoked an outcry from enthusiasts, with sales taking the brunt of the indignation.

Ducati needed to design a new flagship. Fast. The 2007 1098 has a generic Japanese look about it. The front end could be mistaken for Kawasaki's ZX10-R. It retains Ducati's traditional under-seat exhausts that can now be found on many Japanese sports bikes, although there is no mistaking the Italian bike's trellis frame.

There are further hints from other Ducati models too ( traces of the 999 can be found in the tail unit. And Ducati has revisited the 916's single-sided swing arm. This system needs a great deal of engineering to match the torsional stiffness of a twin-sided swing-arm, but it looks a million pounds. The result is a 1098 that should please everyone.

But ride it and prepare to drool; the engine has been overhauled to reach the new 1,099cc capacity. …

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