Ducati 748RS

Ducati 748RS
I’ve always thought the 748 was one of the prettiest and most appealing Ducatis of recent times. It had the elegant architecture of the 916, but a shorter-stroke engine that revved to a sky-high 11,500rpm. Ducati made several versions of the 748, but the ultimate—and rarest—was this 748RS model. These delicate, rarely-pictured machines were homologation specials; stripped-down versions of the street bike with lightweight bodywork, race-only wiring looms and exposed cam belts. The engines were modified internally in line with FIM regulations, and were supplied with extremely aggressive cam profiles. A sinuous 54mm lightweight Termignoni exhaust system completed the spec. They’re not user-friendly bikes, and require very specialized maintenance—not least replacing the valves every 750 miles or so. The RS was campaigned with success on the track; in the US, it delivered a Battle of the Twins win for Dario Marchetti in 2004 and a Pro Thunder win for Kirk McCarthy in 2002, and in France it took David Muscat to three consecutive Supersport wins between 2000 and 2002. The bike shown above comes from UK outfit Sigma Performance, and is one of the very few 748RS models imported into the States. Ducati 748RS00*000666—‘The Beast’—has hardly been used, having just five track days under its belt, and Sigma has produced a set of images showing how the 748RS arrived ‘in the crate’, with carbon fiber everywhere and the multitude of small but critical touches that separate the race bikes from their road-going brethren. [Thanks to Anthony Creek of Pro Italia for the tip.]

Ducati 748RS
Ducati 748RS
Ducati 748RS
Ducati 748RS