Ducati 1098 track test against Honda Fireblade

Ducati 1098 track test against Honda Fireblade

Rock on the ring

A fast lap over the Nordschleife rocks tremendously, is a mighty, impressive experience. Is the uncompromisingly race-ready Ducati or rather the compromise-ready Honda the better tool to conquer this selective mixture of race track and bumpy road? Or at the end of the route even shows the limits of the two race irons bursting with strength?

Everything is wet. On this dreary, cool morning, wisps of mist hang in the fir-tree tops. The weather report the evening before had only spoken of heavy cloud cover. Typically Eifel. There it lies now, the Nordschleife, like a lindworm that winds lazily from the coolness of the night over the hills. A racing monument with a considerable history. After all, the aces of the 500 World Cup last glowed on the slopes with their 120 hp two-stroke engines in 1980.

Ducati 1098 track test against Honda Fireblade

Rock on the ring

Ducati look back. Fireblade and 1098 are their youngest and most powerful descendants and some of the best that two- and four-cylinder empires have to offer. So what is better than approaching this route with these two? In any case, their over 170 hp are more than enough to take on the fight with the kite, which a lap of the Nordschleife is often hyped up to be. But above all they demand one thing: respect. Because whoever exempts this tremendous achievement too carelessly will quickly become acquainted with the Eifel gorse.

Slowly the humidity is on the decline. Ready to rock. Even if the temperatures are still very fresh. Which is why, with a heavy heart, we soled the two of them with Bridge-stone BT 016 instead of the racing glue Supercorsa in SC1 and 2 mix from Pirelli. Bingo, the grip on street sports tires, is proving to be a stroke of luck. Despite the cold asphalt, the rubbers are up to temperature after just a few turns and provide excellent grip. To get in the mood for the cornering paradise, the Hatzenbach is just right at the beginning. An outward sloping downhill right, which requires a lot of confidence in the front wheel, then the subsequent winding that requires precision ?? holla, the Ducati dances warm, shows that handiness is the order of the day. Quite at eye level with the Honda, which meanwhile casually whips through the Hatzenbach and peaks towards the Quiddelbacher Hohe.

Highway to hell

With the 1098 R over the concrete slabs in the carousel, the seals should be there.

Usually the approach to the hilltop and the airfield has to take a run-up and then storm up the hilltop. For Fireblade and Duc the piece is done with a short, violent scribing, and it is less a question of whether you can take off on the crest and more whether you can get the front wheel back on the ground in time. If not, instead of the following double right, you catch the bushes straight ahead. For the first and not the last time, the question arises whether the route here is perhaps not the most difficult to tame.

There is not much time to think about it, the Schwedenkreuz, one of the fastest passages, is approaching. Honda foursome and Ducati twin fire their riders with frightening violence towards the left bend leading over a knoll. So out a little gas, Aremberg corner late, but brake hard. The Ducati monobloc pliers act like a baffle block. In a flash, extremely biting, they compress the pace. No less powerful, but the Honda brakes are much more finely adjustable. In both cases, slip clutches reliably ensure that the rear wheel does not trample at the planned turning point. And then off, fall down the straightest possible line into the fox tube. Tighten the cock as far as the courage allows. And all the stories from? Fuchsrohre goes full ?? Refer confidently to the realm of fairy tales. Not with these beasts. Somewhere at Tacho 230 the view breaks away from the display, clings to the depression, this nasty compression that comes in and where at any moment the two machines will inevitably drill a huge hole in the ground and will disappear forever.

But both chassis parry the violent depression confidently and click up the mountain with millimeter precision on course. Circle with precise arcs through the Adenauer Forest and keep diving. Over the tight curves Kallenhard and Wehrseifen around 150 meters downhill to the bridge at Breidscheid. A strenuous passage for the Ducati rider, who has to support his entire body weight on the handlebars in the tight downhill curves in deep push-ups. It is more comfortable for the Honda driver, who also enjoys the more compact seating position thanks to the shorter tank.

In the shady mine there are still large, damp pieces lurking to stumble careless pilots. How beneficial that the Honda offers an enormous amount of feedback from the front wheel in order to maneuver through the mine curve at the edge of the slide. The Duc, however, can do that even better, making every pore in the asphalt tangible for the driver.

Rock and roll

It is better to keep the gas hand in check at the large plant garden jump. For the sake of nerves and traction.

The corner exit is already dry again, now it applies. Full shower up the long climb up the kettle. And finally, finally, the engines can develop their full potential. The Ducati goes barbaric from the catapult, roars and roars up the mountain. The Fireblade fires afterwards in a more supple, subtle, but just as unyielding manner. Long, fat, black stripes remain. Neither of the two can fight for speed advantages, but while the Honda driver finds some protection behind the windshield, the hurricane pulls and rages around the helmet of the almost defenseless ducking Ducati driver.

Nevertheless, the Duc steadfastly slams uphill on its course. Even if the stiff and rock-hard tuned chassis buckles, jags, fidgets, the driver gets to feel every single one of the numerous bumps in the road unfiltered. Turning up the damping on the shock absorber does not bring relief, the basic set-up is too hard. You need full concentration and a lot of trust in the steering damper in the fast, humped passages. While the Honda gently goes over the asphalt scars. Movement is noticeable in the chassis, the many compressions and fast corners boil the shock absorber’s damping downright soft, readjusting is the order of the day. But the driver feels this basic trust, has much less stress and can concentrate fully on the track, while the Ducati rider doesn’t just fight the track. The concrete slabs of the carousel in particular reveal the uncompromising chassis tuning of the 1098 R. Unimpressed, the shock strut extends the staccato of the concrete joints into the chassis, the softer fork nods gently every time.

From the Hoher Acht to the Brunnchen and the Pflanzgarten, both pilots only have one problem in the thick of corners: where to put their performance? Wring it out fully, twist it out until it comes out sweet and sour? Hardly likely. Otherwise, these two power plants will incinerate the plan that you have put together for the next bend faster than you can grab the brake lever. That’s not how it works. Therefore, it is better to switch a little earlier, make up time with a steady pull and a rounded line. And take your heart in your hand before the planting garden jump. It goes very quickly, but also a long way ??, Nordschleife fox Helmut Dahne once commented on this point. It is better not to imagine what about 170 hp can do with the rear wheel when you lean when jumping. And finally the Dottinger Hohe comes, the final point at full throttle. Accelerate again in full lean position, what grip the rubbers give, crouch, full throttle. Until you drop.

Technical data Ducati 1098 R

Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, two overhead, toothed belt-driven camshafts, oven valves per cylinder, desmodromic actuation, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 60 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 520 W alternator, 12 V / 12 Ah battery, hydraulically operated multi-plate dry clutch, (anti-hopping), six-speed gearbox , O-ring chain, secondary ratio 38:15.
Bore x stroke 106.0 x 67.9 mm
Cubic capacity 1198 cm³
Compression ratio 12.8: 1
Rated output 125.0 kW (170 hp) at 9750 rpm
Max. Torque 134 Nm at 7750 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, steering damper, adjustable spring based, rebound and compression damping, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 330 mm, Four-piston fixed calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 245 mm, two-piston fixed calipers.
Forged aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17
Bridgestone BT 016 tires tested

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1430 mm, steering head angle 65.5 degrees, caster 104 mm, spring travel f / h 120/127 mm, seat height * 820 mm, weight with a full tank * 192 kg, load * 138 kg, tank capacity / reserve 15.5 / 4.0 liters.
Two year guarantee
Service intervals every 12,000 km
Red color
Price including additional costs 35,000 euros

Technical data Honda Fireblade

16 Pictures

Pictures: Tracktest Ducati 1098 against Honda Fireblade

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The classy 1098 and the fire blade – a fast encounter.

Stunning, impressive, too much of a good thing. To exhaust the two engines here? almost impossible. Both guarantee an intense experience: the easy-going Honda lets you experience the track intensely, the raw, almost brutal Ducati, on the other hand, lets you experience the bike itself. The Honda is more relaxed here.

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