Superbike vs. Supercar: Ducati 1198S vs. Ferrari 458 Italia

Ducati's 1198S takes on Ferrari's new 458 Italia in a contest as unfair as we could make it

By Barry Winfield, Photography by Brian Vance, Julia LaPalme, Motor Trend

Shootout in the Streets
Ducati's beatdown of Ferrari at the dragstrip wasn't as much of a shock as the thrashing it delivered at the Streets of Willow. We thought for sure the short track's many tight turns would give the 458 the advantage. Look how wrong we were.

1. The flying laps start here, which means Bell and Rapp have the throttle pinned when they cross start/finish. That explains the top speeds of 112.8 mph for the Ferrari and 129.3 mph for the Ducati on the front straight.

2. Turn 2 highlights one of the 458's few advantages: four contact patches. Though the Ferrari's max grip is slightly lower than the Ducati's (1.26 g versus 1.29), the 458's average speed is 2.4 mph faster (36.4 mph versus 34.0 mph).

3. A gap starts to open as the Ducati cuts a sharper line toward the Streets' famous bowl. That's no lie; in the hands of a Pro like Rapp, the Ducati traces a lap that's 30 feet shorter than the Ferrari's at the finish.

4. Does the bowl's 20-degree banking give the Ducati an edge? It would appear so: The 1198S outgrips the 458 (1.58 g to 1.41) and manages a 5.8-mph cornering-speed advantage (45.7 mph to 40.0 mph).

4a. For much of the circuit, the two Italians race on a similar line except into the bowl, where Rapp stays wide. Bell has the 458 hugging the inside line throughout, which pushes him wider at the corner exit.

5. Already well ahead at this point, the Ducati absolutely crushes the Ferrari with a Vmax of 132.5 mph (to the Italia's 117.4 mph). That's the fastest back-straight speed Motor Trend has ever seen, and total ahhihilation.

6. In the "skidpad" sweeper before the finish line, the Ferrari manages to corner faster (36.7 mph versus 35.3 mph), but it doesn't matter.

7. If they had started side by side, the 1198S would already be at the finish line by the time the 458 Italia fully exits the last corner.

2011 Ferrari 458 Italia | Price: $287,654

Tech Spec
Engine type: l-c 90-deg. V-8
Valve train: DOHC, 32v
Displacement: 4499cc
Bore x stroke: 94.0 x 81.0mm
Compression: 12.5:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Dual-clutch auto
Transmission: 7-speed
Claimed horsepower: 557 bhp @ 9000 rpm
Claimed torque: 398 lb.-ft. @ 6000 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 11.1 sec. @ 125.2 mph
Passing, 45-60 mph: 1.4 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 12/16/18 mpg
Frame: Aluminum
Front suspension: Control arms, coil springs, adjustable shocks, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension: Multilink, coil springs, adjustable shocks, anti-roll bar
Front brakes: Dual Brembo six-piston calipers, 15.7-in. ceramic discs with ABS
Rear brakes: Dual Brembo six-piston calipers, 14.2-in ceramic discs with ABS
Front tires: 235/35ZR-20 Michelin Pilot Sport F1
Rear tires: 295/35ZR-20 Michelin Pilot Sport F1
Rake/trail: na
Seat height: na
Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
Fuel capacity: 22.7 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 3439/3303 lbs.
Colors: Numerous
Warranty: 3 years, unlimited mi.

2010 Ducati 1198S | Price: $21,795

Tech Spec
Engine type: l-c 90-deg, V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v desmodromic
Displacement: 1198cc
Bore x stroke: 106.0 x 67.9mm
Compression: 12.7:1
Fuel system: Marelli EFI
Clutch: Dry, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Claimed horsepower: 170 bhp @ 9750 rpm
Claimed torque: 97 lb.-ft. @ 8000 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 10.0 sec. @ 144.9 mph
Passing, 45-60 mph: 1.0 sec
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 41/31/35 mpg
Frame: Tubular-steel trellis with single-sided aluminum swingarm
Front suspension: 43mm Öhlins fork with adjustable spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Öhlins shock with adjustable spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Front brakes: Dual Brembo Monobloc four-piston radial calipers, 330mm discs
Rear brakes: Brembo two-piston caliper, 245mm disc
Front tires: 120/70R17 Pirelli
Rear tires: 190/55ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rake/trail: 24.5°/3.8 in.
Seat height: 32.2 in.
Wheelbase: 56.3in.
Fuel capacity: 4.1 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 438/413 lbs.
Colors: Red, white
Warranty: 2 years/unlimited mi.

By Barry Winfield
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