Used Bike

Used Test: Ducati Desmosedici GP5

Ducati have kept it simple, but the Desmosedici is on the cusp of greatness. Niall bagged a go

Over the years I've been criticized for assessing sportsbikes from a racer's perspective and accused of giving no relevant feedback to the normal user. Quite what a 'normal' sportsbike rider is I'm not sure - because sportsbikes are ridden by a whole spectrum of people, from those who've just past their test all the way to factory MotoGP stars such as Loris Capirossi. What I do know is that my pace relates to that of a rider in the fast group at a track day: good enough to put a bike through its paces, but not unachievable for many owners.

Riding a MotoGP bike is a different story, though. Any journalist attempting a full - and I mean on-the-limit - evaluation of the Ducati Desmosedici would be deluding themselves and their readers. For a start, it would take a lot more track time than we'd ever be allowed to have on the bike. You can't get into a position to ride the wheels off a factory MotoGP racer in just a few laps.

That said, you do get a feel for it. I reckon this Ducati isn't so far off the Yamaha M1, which has been substantially improved since I last rode one (that was before Valentino Rossi joined Yamaha, and back then it felt like the engine, chassis and riding position belonged on three different bikes). And this Ducati has won races, too. At 230bhp it may not be the most powerful, but it often registers the highest top speed, proving Ducati's investment in a new wind tunnel is having a positive effect on performance.

Millions of dollars have been spent on research and development in Bologna but I believe much of Ducati's success still comes from keeping things simple. A trellis frame with removable bracing houses the fearsome 'twin pulse' Desmodronic 90° V-four with the very best Öhlins suspension bolted on at each end - the 42mm forks have carbonfibre outer tubes for added stiffness, surely a future 'must have' for the sportsbike aftermarket.

Continue reading Niall's test of the 2006 Ducati Desmosedici 2/3