Zonko’s attack on the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR

Zonko’s attack on the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR

Completely insane

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195 hp, 133 Newton meters and 174 kilograms with a full tank of fuel, real 320 km / h top speed – the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR with the Haga World Championship engine pushes towards the sky. Always and everywhere.

Madness! The Testastretta below me roars angrily and breaks through the 250 km / h wall in fifth gear, which is not insignificant for normal Nakeds. As if it were nothing. And even when adding the six, the 195 hp V2 pulls through incredibly vehemently. No end in sight. I crouch over the machine in the folding mode, don’t grab it like crazy brute killers D.ucati 1098 Fighter RR eats up the 1.6 kilometer long Mistral straight in Le Castellet and is scared. I’m not sitting on a fully faired racing machine that cuts the air like on rails, but am defenseless against the forces of nature. 290 km / h on such a light naked bike feels crazy, somehow sick, abnormal.

Zonko’s attack on the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR

Completely insane

Lose control at 320 km / h …

And exactly at the moment when everything in me is playing Granada, because I have to realize in horror that the turbulence has so distorted my optics that I missed the braking point, I wake up bathed in sweat. Well boom, nobody needs that! Wake up with burst breathing.

We drove the PS test in Austria. The previous evening’s description of the events in Le Castellet (Ernst Grabner, the owner of the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR, actually reached 320 km / h according to GPS before he lost control in the braking zone in the south of France) and the corresponding dream have torn my nerves to shreds (luckily I didn’t dream Grabner’s broken jaw), but maybe it was just the murderous rumbling sound of the V2 that I was standing in the box in front of this Duc with soft knees and a dry throat. The most brutal naked I had ever seen and heard. It’s crazy how the Testastretta Evolution RR in Stocksport World Championship configuration (there are two engines available, more on that later) thundered out of the shortened Remus pots, including the 70 mm thick manifold pipes, while idling! I was really exhausted. And when Ernstl then sent short bursts of gas into the engine to warm up, the animal roared so fiercely that I had to fight hard against the escape reflex. “Damn”, I was already on the tip of my tongue, “Forgot the appointment at the luxury hairdresser. Must go urgently. Sorry! "

Cross of 1098 R and Streetfighter 1098 S

The Ducati 1098 Fighter RR project is a devil’s work of love. That has nothing to do with the fact that Ernstl has a large "Italian Stallion" on the back of his leather suit (he is the estate manager on a horse stud – luckily we don’t know anything about how he earned the nickname), but with love to Ducati, to racing technology and to madness.

That the gifted technician Charly Putz (CP57), who was chief engine man of the Ducati Superbike World Championship team for many years and who came to world championship honors with James Toseland, Troy Bayliss and Carlos Checa, was and is at his side with advice and action, is a stroke of luck that cannot be rated highly enough. Apart from the fact that Ernstl would otherwise never have had access to a Haga engine, the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR, which was almost impassable even with the stock sport engine (185 HP and 133 Nm on the rear wheel), because the front was constantly in the sky rose, urgently the know-how of the Styrian world champion maker. Only in this way could a machine emerge from the cross between 1098 R and Streetfighter 1098 S, which in the sense of the teachings of Gregor Mendel ("father of genetics") has the best properties. But it wasn’t an easy way.

Ducati 1098 Fighter RR without driving aids

When Ducati brought the Streetfighter onto the market, Ernstl immediately replaced his S4RS Monster, with which he had caused a sensation in naked amateur racing. However, his new one had a major shortcoming: a 62 degree steering head angle. With this chopper-like flat fork it was impossible to keep the planned sharp lines in the radii. Frustrating! So the desire for a 1098 R arose. However, only as a basis for a conversion: “I grew up with naked motorcycles, I don’t want any disguise or stumps. But I need sharp cornering. And when I was able to get hold of a used 1098 R with a stock sport engine, everything seemed perfect. Performance and geometry were ideal conditions for my Ducati 1098 Fighter RR. "

However, the project was not free from complications. Ernstl did find a triple clamp from CNC for a straight handlebar, and the noble welder “WM71”, who wanted to remain anonymous, was able to modify the Streetfighter tank so that it fitted the four-nozzle injection unit of the 1098 R slightly higher . But since all electronic driving aids were also eliminated, the bike turned out to be more or less impassable – in terms of faster lap times.

The front wheel was always in the air. “I’m a control freak. I don’t want the electronics to control me. So I expanded traction and launch control. I trust my hand on the throttle and want direct access to the engine. However, I just couldn‘t keep the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR on the ground at the front. It’s actually great, but fast is different, ”says Ernstl.

Gaswheelies up to fourth gear

Charly Putz knew that they had a swing arm that was 25 mm longer in the World Cup. Unfortunately, the part cost an avalanche. So Ernstl came up with the idea of ​​using the Streetfighter’s swing arm, which is 40 mm longer. The geometry data matched. The only problem was that the swing arm left no space for the mighty manifold pipes because, unlike the 1098 R, the Streetfighter’s exhaust is guided to the side. In consultation with Charly Putz, WM71 cut the swing arm apart, made space for the manifold pipes, stiffened the swing arm inside with aircraft aluminum and welded the new shape. The result was great. With the stock sport engine you could now accelerate safely in the five.

But since gas wheelies up to fourth gear were still the order of the day and the Italian stallion was traveling long distances in the gallery, Ernstl had to refill half a liter of oil per race weekend, which was pressed into the airbox via the engine ventilation. CP57 knew advice: “We need a wheelie box with tank foam in which the oil can collect and flow back. ”The ideal place for this was located under the rear of the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR, which can be considered a masterpiece by WM71. A rear frame was formed from pipes using a bending machine familiar from the installation trade and welded below the wheelie box so perfectly that a racing driver in the paddock in Le Castellet wanted to bet that the seams could only be from a robot.

Engine change in two hours

The throttle grip of the Desmosedici RR with the small “choke” lever to increase the idle gas when starting is also striking. This is necessary because the high-compression Haga engine (the exact ratio is still a racing secret, in any case it is well over 14: 1) develops such a strong pull that it inevitably closes the large throttle valves as soon as the pistons close Start ripping down. Speaking of which: Since the stock of sharp pistons for a five-year-old Ducati racing engine is not immeasurable, but simply used up at some point, CP57 has high-compression pistons with ceramic coating manufactured by Carillo in the USA according to its own plans.

For fast courses such as Brno, Slovakia, Red Bull and Le Castellet, the Haga engine is used in the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR, which essentially differs from the Stocksport Twin in that it has a lighter crank drive and lighter, higher-compression pistons. The extra power of ten HP on the rear wheel starts to hit from 9500 rpm, before the first soft limiter at 11,200 rpm announces the end of the insane drive (200 revolutions later, the hard limiter regulates off). On slower courses, such as in Pannonia or Almeria, the more maintenance-friendly stick athlete is screwed into the frame. The latter needs an overhaul every 3500 to 4000 kilometers, the Haga engine every 2500 to 3000. Ernstl estimates two hours for the engine change: “My wife and I are a well-rehearsed team.” Translated into the world of the gallery, the two engines differ as follows: The stick athlete does gas wheelies up to fourth gear, with the Haga engine the fighter climbs in fifth without using the clutch. Crazy, just crazy.

As a chassis, Ohlins components of the Streetfighter dampen the inner workings with real insider goodies. Where they come from and which one is they are must remain hidden here, as the technician does not want to be asked on stage.

What a crazy ride!

The test ride on the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR was then, in the truest sense of the word, sheer madness! Although the new programming of the engine control system from Morc in Burgenland, which became necessary due to the replacement of the electronic driving aids, was a fantastic success, there is a huge difference whether you call up 200 hp on a super sports car or on a naked. In the lower aisles, wheelie greed is so omnipresent that you first have to retrain your body’s own sensors for exiting bends.

At the research entrance, the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR shines (steering head angle to 65.5 degrees) on the front wheel with a lot of transparency, sufficient stability and large reserves in the choice of lines, the rear likes to dance. It was never a problem, but the coolness of the Italian stallion ("I am good when something moves. If I want to ride like on rails, I buy a super sports car") didn’t show up for me in the few laps.

Turning circle of a Boeing 747

But the euphoria caught me in full. Up to 7000 rpm the Stocksport-Testastretta was an incredibly divine racing engine with a squeaky-clean response behavior, over 7000 it developed a force that seemed to never end. It just caught my breath. Madness! Incredible how powerful the engine feels in a naked fighter. It was also wild to grab the wind at higher speeds. Without a fairing, it is simply impossible to control the handlebars gently beyond 250 km / h. You have to cling automatically. And if you then eat a small wave and the machine becomes quite restless for a moment, you are not as happy about anything as about the steering damper.

The test ride with the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR was an unbelievable thrill, a murderous injection of adrenaline and an unforgettable experience. But I was definitely not really fast. I would have been faster with any modern super sports car. Cladding, seating position and electronic driving aids make good lap times much easier. On the other hand, the fighter is just something incredibly twitchy with unlimited experience. I don’t want to hide the most sensitive point of the test: The fact that I almost spread out at five km / h was due to the wider racing radiator, which was moved upwards so that the spark plug on the front cylinder can be easily changed. Therefore the steering angle had to be reduced dramatically. The thing now has the turning circle of a Boeing 747. It should never be forgotten.


“When I think about the Ducati 1098 Fighter RR, I really appreciate the fact that it’s obviously not always about the money. The “Italian stallion” with the broken jaw could never really afford the use of the gifted and extremely experienced technicians, some of whom would like to stay in the background, but they are fully behind the Fighter RR project, which soberly considers the description “ perfect insane “more than deserved. But that’s exactly what I think is great. The roaring RR-Fighter with the raised front wheel is like an impregnable fortress against the attack of the bean counters and the brakes on fun.

Technical data Ducati 1098 Fighter RR

Drive: Two-cylinder V-engine (WM version), four valves / cylinder, 143.6 kW (195 PS) at 10,700 rpm **, 133 Nm at 9200 rpm **, 1198 cm³, bore / stroke: 106.0 / 67.9 mm, compression ratio : k. A., ignition / injection system, 64 mm throttle valves, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath anti-hopping clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat, chain

Landing gear: Steel tubular space frame, steering head angle: 65.5 degrees, caster: n / a, wheelbase: 1470 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression stage. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Spring travel front / rear: 120/127 mm, cast light alloy wheels, 3.50 x 17 / 6.00 x 17, front tires: 120/17 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17, 330 mm double disc brakes with radially attached four -piston fixed calipers front, 245 mm single disc with two-piston fixed caliper at the rear

Maximum rear wheel power **: 143.6 kW (195 PS)

Top speed: 320 km / h via GPS 

Weight: 174 kg with a full tank; Tank capacity: 15 liters

Base price: not for sale single item

all damping settings counted from completely closed; static negative spring deflection standing vertically without driver; U = revolutions; K = clicks * manufacturer information ** PS measurement

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