Sepang was bright and fresh when I landed there the day after the Malaysian Grand Prix – bright and sunny with clear blue skies and then a sight to gladden the heart – rows upon rows of Ducatis red, yellow and black, all lined up for us riders to get astride and ride the full GP circuit! Panigales, Diavels (yes, there were a few of these as well for those brave enough to try and chase Loris and Troy astride this rocket cruiser), 795s (yes, the very same which have yet to arrive in India!), a few Multistradas and of course a whole squadron of 848 Streetfighters.
Now one knows that this category of no-nonsense street scratcher is a recent extension of the naked superbike scene which has multiplied manifold in recognition and critical mass all over the world and for it to have been spawn from Ducati’s WSB-winning genes is enough to get the juices flowing. When talking about the Ducati Streetfighter 848, one of the key points to note is that it replaces the base model 1098 Streetfighter, which means now the Ducati Streetfighter line-up is made up of the 848 and the high-spec 1099 Streetfighter S.
This has helped Ducati bring clarity to its naked bike model range while offering a practical offering in the middleweight class of motorcycles and therefore a lot is riding upon the junior Streetfighter.The Streetfighter 848 is bold, brash and beautiful no matter from where you look at her. And helping its sporty demeanour is the sorted frame which it borrows from Ducati’s massive parts bin with much of it coming from the Superbike 848. So the sharp, agile and exciting characteristics of the supersport chassis are infused in the 848 as well.
The only marginal but significant change to the geometry of the 848 is a reduction in the rake to 24.5 degrees from 25.6 degrees of the bigger Streetfighter S and by doing that the chassis engineers at Ducati have managed to improve the overall front-end feel on the 848 leading to a confidence inspiring feel. The first two corners at the Sepang circuit are rather tight and require one to swiftly change direction, which on the 848 was a breeze as she briskly went from the tight right-handed first corner leading into the tightening left-hander in an absolutely composed and smooth fashion. And this sort of razor-sharp handling is attributed to the superbly balanced trellis frame of the 848.