Today's post is for two Ducati Desmosedici, a bike which I think is the most lustworthy Ducati of the last 20 years, even more so than the 916/996/998. One is a truly incredible Casey Stoner homage and the other appears to a pristine "team version" edition.
A true "racebike-for-the-streets", the Desmosedici was a limited production, road-legal version of the racebike that Casey Stoner rode to MotoGP glory and thereby helped to restore Ducati to the pinnacle of the motorcycle world. Ducati made 1500 Desmosedici for public purchase and offered them for an eye-popping 72,500 USD and even in the midst of the 2006-2008 financial crisis, all 1500 units that were produced were pre-sold.
Before digging into the the details of this particular Desmosedici, I think its important to take a moment and explain the impact that Casey Stoner's success on the Ducati Desmosedici had on motorcycling. Consider the following excerpt;
Ducati had stopped participating in the top tier/"Grand Prix" racing class in 1972 when 2 stroke motors became dominant. The company did continue to participate in four-stroke production model race classes such as TT1, TT2 and World Superbike but it was only in the 1990's when MotoGP rule changes gave priority to four-stroke machinery that the company decided to re-enter the world’s premier racing class/Moto GP.
At the time Ducati re-entered MotoGP, no European manufacturer had won the top tier championship since MV Agusta in 1973, a span of almost 30 years.
The Desmosedici began in 2003 as a design effort by a group of young Moto Corse engineers (average age of 28) and was built around a brand-new V-4 engine that incorporating Ducati's traditional 90-degree cylinder layout and a 16 valve engine with desmodromic control. The engine was designed for one thing-racing.
Including twin overhead camshafts, the engine was mounted in a tubular steel frame with the engine as a stressed member. The rear suspension and aluminium swing-arm were bolted directly to the engine, the front forks were top shelf Öhlins, power was transferred via a six-speed cassette-type gearbox, shifts were via a multi-plate slipper clutch, and noted F1 aerodynamics expert Alan Jenkins designed the all-enveloping bodywork. All the pieces were combined to produce a machine that produced over 220 horsepower at 16,000 rpm.
The Desmosedeci effort was successful from 2003-2007, with multiple podium finishes and Ducati finishing second in the constructor championship but the top level championship remained elusive. This was despite the efforts of riders such as Carlos Checca, Loris Capirossi, and Sete Gibernau. In 2007 the maximum engine capacity for MotoGp was reduced to 800 cc and evolutionary changes to bike were made, including a change to the firing order. The changes, combined with the promotion of former fourth Ducati rider Casey Stoner of Australia to the number one rider spot resulted in astonishing results. Stoner stomped the competition at the opening race at Qatar, setting the fastest lap of the race on his final lap and roaring past Valentino Rossi on the back straight to finish ahead by almost three seconds. Stoner and the Ducati dominated the motogp season, winning an astonishing 10 MotoGp races and Ducati finally succeeded in its attempt to reach the upper echelon of motorcycle manufacturers.
Perhaps the most significant impact of the Desmosedici success was that it helped persuade other european manufacturers to rejoin the large displacement sportbike segment for both the street and racing. Within a few years companies such as KTM and BMW were launching large displacement sportbike development efforts, resulting in bikes such as the RC8 and S1000 respectively.
This particular Desmosedici is #456 and the seller indicates they are the second owner. The seller has also gone to a great amount of effort to replicate the Casey Stoner graphics package on the bike, and perhaps most importantly, indicates that all major recalls have been done.
Here is some of what the seller has to say
- Brand New OEM Ducati Bridgestone tires were just mounted with 0 miles.
- New Battery.
- Only added items are an OEM Ducati carbon fiber rear fender and an OEM Ducati carbon fiber gas cap.
- All recalls have been completed on the bike except for the recall that requires you to cut the rear carbon tail section if you use the “street” silencer. This bike has the race silencer on it.
- Bike has been in Monterey California for the past year with “John” at Finishing Touch Custom Paint, who paints and installs graphics on all the most custom race bikes and has an awesome relationship with Ducati USA. We worked together on this bike for the last year . We scrutinized over every detail including getting graphics like the “Advantage” logo right on the top of the upper fairing. To make it true Factory Ducati, we ended up painting the blue as to fade it like the factory bike and placing the decal over it. All of the graphics are under the clear coat, ls were created, sized and printed custom for this bike. You will not find decals like the “Enel” on the tail, an example of how detailed we needed to be to create this masterpiece.
- As close to perfect as a motorcycle can be, not even a scratch under the swing arm where bikes typically get dinged when you put it on its rear stand.
Is this Ducati worth the $50,000 USD Buy-It-Now asking price? To be honest, I do think its worth that and maybe even a bit more. Standard Desmosedici's with higher mileage and no evidence of recalls seem to go for about 42-48,000 USD. The condition of this Desmosedici and the graphics package plus recalls and recent fresh service make me think the price is spot on. Since the actual Casey Stoner MotoGP bikes are commanding bonkers prices at auction, this is probably as close to a Casey Stoner replica as most mere mortals will ever have an opportunity to own.
To me this Desmosedici is a true halo bike, a bike which could be the crown jewel of a collection. I am personally tempted to make an offer for this lovely beastie so..erm...move along now...nothing to see here.
NOTE: While writing this post a second Desmosedici came up for sale on eBay, so if you are looking for one but don't fancy the Stoner tribute graphics package, maybe check it out here. Interestingly, the price is right inline with this Stoner replica.