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Ducati Monster 1200 R in the PS driving report

Ducati’s most powerful naked bike

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The latest Ducati Monster 1200 R with the revised Testastretta is the strongest naked bike "ever" from Bologna. To underline this, PS wiped it over the runway.

Basically, it is not a mistake to give us testers powerful, sporty motorcycles on a racetrack. On the one hand, it is of course a lot of fun there, without oncoming traffic and irritating general cargo blasting in the immediately adjacent landscape. On the other hand, the ride on the knife’s edge reveals much deeper insights into the essence of the test machine. To that extent has D.ucati did a lot right with the presentation of the strongest naked bike in the company’s history, the Ducati Monster 1200 R, in the exclusive Ascari Race Resort in southern Spain.

Ducati Monster 1200 R in the PS driving report

Ducati’s most powerful naked bike

Ducati Monster 1200 R intervened in the geometry of the motorcycle, which is already available as a standard 1200 and S version, and raised it by 15 millimeters with new Ohlins dampers for more lean angle freedom. A steering damper from Ohlins calms the sporty handlebars, and the standard, super-sporty Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP (rear as 200 mm roller) provide plenty of grip for tough attacks. The racing footrests only installed on the R also offer good grip, and the redesigned R rear with a tighter and non-height-adjustable seat roll not only looks sleeker, but also feels sportier than on the previous 1200 versions.

Engine is said to have 160 hp at 9250 rpm

Even more arguments for using the Ducati Monster 1200 R on the racetrack? Marchesini forged wheels similar to the Panigale and many carbon parts that contribute to the combat weight of 180 kilos dry (in total for the "S" -2kg). 

And then of course the engine. The technicians have made the Testastretta with eleven degrees of valve overlap, as it is already in the other two monster variants, quite a leg. In the Ducati Monster 1200 R, it should produce 160 hp at 9250 rpm. 131 Nm at 7750 rpm are also significantly higher than the nominally 145 PS strong S variant that we measured with 124 Nm.

Traction control of the Ducati Monster 1200 R can be adjusted eight times

The plus in torque and power comes from the new throttle valve body with elliptical, 56 mm throttle valves, an exhaust system with a fat 58 mm manifold diameter (S version with 50 mm) and a compression ratio increased to 13.0: 1. All of this is finely tuned for a twin that can hardly be surpassed in terms of smoothness, which rotates cleanly from below and purrs very smoothly to the speed limiter at 10,200 rpm. 

However, a little over 9500 rpm does not go much forward, which is why the smooth-running twin feels downright good. Especially on the racetrack, where you want to use the extra punch around the top. The fact that the Ducati Monster 1200 R is no boring is revealed by the electronics, in which, for example, the traction control can be adjusted eight times. Their function could be wonderfully tested on the wonderfully long left-hand bends in Ascari. We were particularly good at level 2, which allows a lot of wheelspin, which is great for drawing lines thanks to the rich torque with the nicely controllable throttle grip.

Bremste comes from the Panigale

The ABS, on the other hand, is hardly suitable for the race track, even in the most restrained of the three levels and regulates relatively early even in level 1 without rear wheel detection. With the ABS switched off, the brakes in the Panigale show what it’s made of. Finely dosed, it is absolutely super sporty. Which, however, can put the chassis in trouble. Only after a good portion of pressure, especially in the fork, could the Ducati Monster 1200 R calm down to some extent in the hard braking zones.

If this already indicates that the R-Monster will quickly reach its limit on the racetrack, a worn gear lever and a sharpened manifold show that the slogan “Race-ready Chassis” belongs in the field of marketing methods. The Ducati people then quickly have to put up with the question of why a monster that was perfect for the country road had to be pimped up into the brand strongest naked bike and why the more aggressive streetfighter will no longer exist in the future. A lack of capacity and the need to design a completely new motorcycle in this case should put us in a milder mood. After all, there’s nothing wrong with the Monster 1200 R’s agility, right? Not really, it sweeps around the corner excellently, and in alternating curves it even shows itself to be of a very handy kind that has never before been seen with a monster. But the Ducati Monster 1200 R’s DNA is also clearly oriented towards country roads. This engine, perhaps a bit more toxic, and a stiffer and more front-wheel-oriented chassis would really be a fatter racetrack naked from Bologna for the high price.

Technical data Ducati Monster 1200 R


The Ducati Monster 1200 R willingly makes the trip to the racetrack, convinces with very nice handling and a sophisticated engine. But their true destination lies above all on the country road.

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