The Superbike chassis and suspension received detailed study and a ‘performance-first’ priority approach to development. The goal was to achieve considerable weight saving and build-in strength and rigidity to manage the high-powered Testastretta Evoluzione engines. The Ducati 1198 is a ‘biposto’ version equipped with a passenger seat and footpegs.
Developed in cooperation with Ducati Corse, the lightweight Trellis frame features 34mm main section tubes with a material thickness of 1.5mm. The result is an incredibly rigid construction that remains one of Ducati’s lightest frame solutions ever. Adding style to performance, the two colours for the 1198 use ‘racing black’ frames and 1198 S a sophisticated ‘bronze’ finish.
The 1198 features fully adjustable 43mm Showa forks, with an additional special low friction titanium oxide treatment applied to the sliders, while spectacular 43mm Öhlins with low friction titanium nitride-treated sliders are used on the 1198 S. Both front suspension solutions have radial brake caliper mountings providing superior road holding and incredible feedback to give every rider more confidence and control.
The lightweight Trellis frame and single-sided swingarm have enabled a compact and weight-saving rear suspension linkage system that features separate lower pick-up points for the push-rod and suspension unit. This ‘tandem’ design effectively reduces stress around the linkage pick-up area of the Trellis frame. Working together with this highly efficient linkage is a fully adjustable Showa single shock for the 1198, and an incredible Öhlins unit for the 1198 S. The 1198 and 1198 S rear suspension system has an adjustable rear ride-height, independent of spring pre-load and other suspension settings - valuable when seeking the perfect set-up for personal riding style or track conditions.
The dual construction technique used for the single-sided swingarm sees the main operational components use individual aluminium castings so as to ensure strength around the pivot points, wheel hub and suspension links, with fabricated aluminium sections used to complete the construction into a single, beautifully engineered component. The 1198/1198 S swingarm is colour finished in black.
With motorcycles as capable as the new Ducati Superbikes, superior braking power is fundamental. The 1198 and the 1198 S use Brembo’s powerful Monobloc caliper racing technology. Machined from a single piece of alloy, the calipers achieve a higher rigidity and resistance to distortion during extreme braking. The resulting increase in hydraulic efficiency not only delivers incredible braking power, but also provides an enhanced and precise ‘feel’ at the brake lever. The twin Monobloc calipers each have quadruple 34mm pistons that grip huge 330mm discs to help achieve spectacular brake performance. The weight of the discs has been kept to a minimum by employing racing-style narrow braking surfaces.
Super lightweight wheels
The lightweight front wheels of the 1198 and 1198 S substantially reduces the moment of inertia, enabling a faster change of direction and enhanced acceleration and braking performances. The construction of the rear wheels are equally as impressive with considerable weight savings over traditional Ducati single-sided swingarm fitments.
The 1198 rides on new style 10-spoke wheels finished in a subtle graphite grey. As usual, the 1198 S goes to the next level by rolling out on the new 7-spoke GP replica wheels. These beautifully lightweight, forged-aluminium, machine-finished wheels are colour-matched to the Trellis frame in a sophisticated bronze.
The 1198/1198 S models are fitted with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC at 120/70 ZR17 for the front fitment and 190/55 ZR17 for the rear. These tyres provide shoulder areas designed to maximize contact patch area and length and carcass specially designed for stiffness under heavy braking and precision during high speed cornering.
Producing a front subframe in magnesium underlines the attention to weight-saving detail. Its construction provides secure support for the headlamp, instruments and fairing and the weight-saving around this high, forward position contributes considerably to overall ‘feel’ and control of the machine.
Carefully designed for aerodynamic efficiency and to hug the sleek lines of the chassis, the 1198 bodywork enables the rider to blend effortlessly into the race-oriented riding position.
Its race-developed fairing design ensures perfect integration with the cooling system by providing efficient flow through the advanced, large surface area coolant radiator, which is assisted by lightweight, high flow electric fan assemblies and oil coolers. Aerodynamically shaped air ducts positioned just below the headlamps are precisely calculated to provide ample air delivery to the pressurised airbox.
The lightweight bodywork contributes considerably to overall performance by reducing weight, protecting the Testastretta Evoluzione engine’s power output, and assisting the rider to effortlessly ‘tuck in’ from the wind stream and reduce drag to achieve maximum straight-line track speeds.