Italian Firecracker

With the release of the 1098 in 2007, Ducati created a stir not only with road riders, but also in the racing world, specifically the Superbike World Championship.
In an attempt to level the playing field, WSBK regulations provide for concessions to motorcycles depending on the number of cylinders in their engine design. The fewer the cylinders, the more concessions, and with its two-cylinder V-twin design Ducati was able to capitalize on many of these concessions.

Ducati argued that the current engine was at the end of its design life (which surrendered as much as 20 hp to the competition in 2007, its last year in WSBK) and that it would be too expensive to keep the 999 competitive. The 2007 WSBK rules limited V-twin engines to 1000 cc, so Ducati effectively did not have a guarantee that the 1098 was eligible for entry in the premier class. Before releasing the 1098, Ducati lobbied the FIM to update the WSBK rules to accommodate its new bike, threatening to withdraw from WSBK competition if the rules weren't changed. Other manufacturers were not happy about racing a bike with a larger engine and suzuki even threatened to withdraw if the rules were changed.

Ducati prevailed when, in June 2007, the FIM announced that the engine capacity limit would increase to 1200 cc for 2008. However, this increase in displacement was not afforded without concessions on the part of Ducati. With the new 1200 cc maximum displacement for two-cylinders granted, the extra engine modifications allowed two-cylinder machines were surrendered. Engine modification rules for two-cylinder and four-cylinder machines are now parallel.

Ducati went on and won the 2008 and 2011 Superbike World Championship with its 1098RS, a derivative of the 1098R (Bayliss on a 1098RS and Checa on a 1198RS).

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issued: Thursday, October 14, 2021
updated: Thursday, October 14, 2021

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