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Ducati Streetfighter and 1198 Break Cover in Milan


Ducati Streetfighter S

Three new Ducati models-rumored for months but not shown officially to the public-were unveiled on Monday to gathered press and Ducati fans at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. The Streetfighter is a stripped-down version of the 1098 Superbike with a 155-hp V-Twin and aggressive styling. The 1198 (and higher-spec S version) is a refinement of the award and WBK-winning 1098 with a new 170-hp motor. A limited-edition 1098R in Troy Bayliss livery will commemorate that racer’s career as he hangs up his leathers for good.

The Streetfighter could be the star of the massive Milan show. The bike uses the 1099cc motor from last year’s 1098, good for 155 hp: no “tuning for torque” here. The 1098’s underseat exhaust is swapped out for a cool S4R-styled shotgun exhaust, and the S version gets Ducati’s multi-setting traction control and data-acquisition system first seen on the 2008 1098R.

Also taming what promises to be a wild street ride is more relaxed (and non-adjustable) steering geometry and a longer wheelbase. Other changes from the 1098 include a tapered Superbike (and we mean Wes Cooley Superbike) bar, a headlamp and instrument pod slightly reminiscent of the Kawasaki ER-6n, and a belly pan. Other than that, this is a real streetfighter; a full-spec superbike stripped of its fairing with minimal modifications to the chassis to keep the front wheel grounded at least some of the time.

At around 377 pounds (the same as the 1198), it’ll have a power-to-weight ratio unmatched by any other naked bike, and we here at MD are considering donating a kidney for a chance to ride one. Expect it in dealers in Spring of 2009 priced at $14,995. The Streetfighter S (with traction control, data analysis computer, Öhlins suspension and forged Marchesini wheels) will set you back $18,995.

Although the 1198 shares bodywork with last year’s 1098, Ducati claims it’s an all-new model. The motor is a bored-out version of the Testastretta Evoluzione mill. New throttle bodies, crankcases, gear cluster, cams and pistons add up to a light, powerful motor good for a claimed 170 hp and 97 ft.-lbs. of torque. The 375-pound S version gets the traction control and data-acquisition system found on last year’s $40,000 1098R, as well as Öhlins suspension and 7-spoke Marchesini forged wheels. Pricing is yet to be announced, but expect it to be about $1000 more than the Streetfighter. Ducati owners, particularly those who ponied up for the 2008 1098R, are already grumbling about the 1198S. Priced in the low $20,000 range, it should be very close to the performance and technology of the 1098R.

Finally, Troy Bayliss himself rode out on stage on the 1098R Bayliss Replica. It has the same specs as your garden-variety 1098R, including the carbon-fiber bodywork and 180 hp engine spiced up with a pearl-white-and-red color scheme. It includes a racing exhaust system and ECU, cover, stand and commemorative plaque. Five hundred will be built. Pricing is unannounced, but if you have to ask . . .