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Driving report: Ducati 1198 SP

Race track kilometers with Ducati’s new noble athlete

Ducati opens the treasure chest and gives the 1198 S a range of fine ingredients that make it the 1198 SP from now on. This is supposed to cause a real stir on the racetrack.

Rivazza, Acque Minerali, Tosa, Tamburello. And of course the Alta and Bassa variants. The Imola curves are a single cascade of names rich in sound and tradition, racing history cast in asphalt. And after Carlos Checa won both races at the Superbike World Championship here at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, just under 50 kilometers from the factory gates, there was hardly a more suitable place for Ducati to present the new 1198 SP.

It replaces the 1198 S with immediate effect, ennobled with a slip clutch, automatic gearshift and Ohlins TTX shock absorber. A larger aluminum tank instead of the plastic fuel container should reduce the dry weight by one to 168 kilograms – exactly the weight of the 848 Evo. Still on board: traction control and Ducati data analyzer. In terms of price, the SP is likely to be slightly above the 1198 S..

Even if the October sun is doing its best again on this day, early in the morning some parts of the route are still in the shade, there is some moisture in some bends, so be careful. After all, the racing skins raised especially for this turn, new, shiny, greasy Pirelli Supercorsa SC, want to be approached in the meager 15 minutes’ driving time available. The red one shouldn’t have wrinkles in her dress right away. From the third round onwards, it’s time to fire. The unchanged 1198 engine turns out to be a colossal arsonist once more. In second gear, it catapults the 1198 SP with force out of the narrow chicanes or out of the Acque Minerali on the rear wheel up the mountain. The Alta variant awaits there, the higher of the two very tight chicanes. Braking is the order of the day. The slip clutch works flawlessly, requires a gripping hand, but keeps the tail nice and quiet even during brute braking maneuvers.


The slip clutch works with ramps and balls and works great.

Continue down the slope to the Piratella in a long curve to the right, stepping through one corridor after the other. In the pit lane, the automatic gearshift surprised at low engine speeds with surprisingly long interruptions to the ignition. Here, however, at race speed, one gear after the next is lined up smoothly with minimal interruptions in traction.

The Ducati did not set a highlight in terms of chassis during this first sniff. The spring elements still carried the standard setting that was too soft at the front and hard at the rear, which caused unrest in the fast corners. There was no opportunity to change the vote. So she has to wait for the first test to show what she’s really made of.

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Technical specifications


Instead of the 15.5-liter plastic tank, the aluminum tank now holds just under 18 liters.

Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, two overhead, toothed belt-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, desmodromic, 64 mm injection, 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.
Bore x stroke 106.0 x 67.9 mm
Displacement 1198 cc
Compression ratio 12.7: 1
rated capacity 125.0 kW (170 hp) at 9750 rpm
Max. Torque 131 Nm at 8000 rpm

landing gear:
Steel tubular frame, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, central spring strut, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 330 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, Rear disc brake, Ø 245 mm, double-piston floating caliper.
Forged aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
Tires 120 / 70-17; 190 / 55-17

Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1430 mm, steering head angle 65.5 degrees, caster 104 mm, spring travel f / h 120/127 mm, dry weight 168 kg, tank capacity 18 liters.
guarantee two years
Colors Red Black
Price: from 22 690 euros

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