Since 2003, the Desmosedici has been the standard bike for Ducati Corse, the motorcycle maker’s racing team. The name for the bike — ”Desmo” for desmodromic and “sedici”, Italian for sixteen — highlights the Desmosedici’s sixteen desmodromic valves (four per cylinder).
In 2008, they decided to develop a street legal version of the Desmosedici: The Desmosedici RR. The bike had a 989cc engine with 200 horsepower, and featured Ducati’s unique Desmodromic valve system, which “actuates valve closure mechanically,” ensuring exact valve timings at every speed. But only 1,500 were ever produced, and was discontinued thereafter to preserve its exclusivity and desirability. Today, the model Ducati offers that most resembles the Desmosedici is the Superbike 1199 Panigale R. The horsepower and weight are virtually the same, and the design of the Panigale is equally as flawless. These and other models from its past — including the Sport 1000, Paul Smart 1000, and Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak — were on display a day before the race on Ducati Island, their sprawling tent at Laguna Seca.
And while these mechanical marvels were a sight to behold, the most thrilling part of Laguna Seca remained on the track.