The Ducati Riding
& Racing School Experience
The most fun you can have with your leathers on!
Photos by Jim Gianatsis
Our trip to Italy for Monza World Superbike
and World Ducati Week 2004 also included a trip to the Ducati
Factory and the Ducati DRE School.
It is FastDates.com recommended for the Ultimate Sportbike Vacation!
2010 DRE School Updates at Right and on Ducati.com
Italy, May 17th 2004 - My exciting 10-day adventure to Italy
for the Monza SBK World Superbike round and World Ducati Week 2004 (WDW2004)
saw me with a few other international motorcycle journalists at the
seaside town of Rimini next to the Misano Grand Prix track. We were
housed by Ducati in The Grand Hotel, the vacation home of royality and
celebrities, and I was kindly loaned a Multistrada, (my favorite do
everything streetbike, for riding around the Italian countryside and
to-and-from the nearby Misano GP track where World Ducati Week 2004
was held.on during my stay.
Sportbike enthusiasts from around the world, both men
and women, attended the DRE school at Misano held at the start of WDW2004.
Our morning orientation and evening closing ceremonies took place here
in the track's beautiful press room on the second floor of the track's
main building facility, overlooking the front straight start/finish
line. During the course of the day we would be based inside the paddock
garages below on the first floor which were set up with tables and chairs
and beverages for resting a talking between track sessions.
I took advantage
of everything and more that WDW2004 offered to enthusiasts beginning
on Monday the 17th with the Ducati Riding Experience (DRE) and its Advanced
Racing School held aboard 999 Superbikes at the Misano GP track (the
WDW20040 venue) with highly experienced racing instructors.
The Ducati SpA
factory in Italy has organized its own riding schools under the name
Ducati Riding Experience (DRE) . Combining track and classroom instruction,
they are specifically designed to improve your technical riding skills.
Reservations are open to men and women from beginner to expert: the
courses are conducted in Italian and English. Participants are instructed
by an incredible line-up of professionals with extensive training and
track experience, including legendary ex-champions Mario Lega, Marco
Lucchinelli, and head instructor Dario Marchetti.
The DRE courses
for 2004 run from March to October, during 13 dates, and take place
at three renowned Grand Prix tracks in Italy: The Enzo and Dino Ferrari
track at Imola, the Vallelunga track and the Misano track. The courses
will last the entire day, covering both theory and practice. Classes
are fully inclusive and provide the bikes and lunch, as well as other
ammenities and gifts like T-shirts. Registration fees range from as
low as $275 for the basic Women Riding School on 620 Monsters, toa high
of $775 for the Racing School on 999 Superbikes. Additional information
can be found, and Registration and Payment is made on the Ducati.com
Few things can
compare to the thrill of riding a motorcycle. But with great pleasure
comes great responsibility and Ducati wants to make sure you get your
thrills safely. Ducati is the only motorcycle manufacturer which directly
offers race track riding experience and training. Besides imparting
the practice and skills necessary to ride a high performce sportbikse
like those offered by Ducati, they are also supporting and reinforcing
their huge Ducati market group of enthusiasts.
is a description of the different day long DRE Classes offered by Ducati:
WOMEN RIDING SCHOOL:
This course is intended to allow women with an interest in motorcycling
to learn the basics in a safe non-street environment with experienced
Organization: Courses will take place in the paddock on reduced-power
Monster 620 i.e.'s with a maximum of 30 participants.
Apparel: all equipments will be provided by Ducati (leathers, helmet,
gloves, boots) and will be returned to Ducati at the end of the course.
WOMEN ADVANCED RIDING SCHOOL: This course
is intended for women who already have basic riding skills, and want
to refine their skills with advanced riding theory and practice in the
paddock area. The course will culminate in a ride on the racetrack.
Organization: This course will use Ducati Monster 800 and Ducati Multistradas,
maximum 24 participants.
Apparel: All equipment will be provided by Ducati (leathers, helmet,
gloves, boots) and will be returned to Ducati at the end of the course.
DUCATI ADVANCED RIDING SCHOOL: Like
the Women's Advanced Riding Course, this course is intended for riders
who have basic riding skills and road experience, and want to refine
those skills through advanced riding theory and practice in a safe environment.
The course will culminate in a ride on the racetrack. Students must
be riders who have fully mastered basic riding skills.
Organization: This course will use Monster 800 and Ducati Multistradas,
maximum 24 participants.
Apparel: Participants must bring their own riding equipment: full leathers;
helmet; gloves and boots. The advanced track ride requires the use of
DUCATI RACING SCHOOL: For expert riders
(men and women) who want to further develop their racing skills.
Organization: The course will take place on the track using the Ducati
999 with a maximum of 60 participants, divided into groups of 5 or 6
on the basis of declared experience.
Apparel and gear: participants are required to arrive with their own
riding equipment: full leathers; helmet; gloves and boots.
Participants will have portraits drawn by Matitaccia, the world's most
famous motorcycle cartoonist.
with DRE Race School instructor Marco Luchinelli.
On our DRE day
at Misano, all of the different DRE Schools were taking place in different
locations at the track facility like the parking lot and a nearby cart
track, while the Racing School which I was in was held solely on the
main grand prix track. I had signed up for the Racing School along with
good friend and fellow motojournalist Brian Catterson from Cycle World
magazine. Our Race School of some 50 riders total were broken down into
shifts of about 30 riders to alternate track sessions on the brand new
999 Superbikes which were there, and then our sessions were broken down
to smaller 8 rider groups with a specific instructor. My group with
Brian was instructed by none other than former World GP Champion Marco
Luchinelli (1981World Champion on a Suzuki RG500) and 1983 World Superbike
team rider and race winner for Ducati.
We got four 20-minute
track session in the morning, trading our bikes with another group during
our breaks to rest and discuss riding techniques with our instructors.
Then came a nice and relaxing cafeteria cooked lunch at Misano's huge
track restaurant and swimming pool! Followed by four more 20-minute
sessions (approximately 8-10 laps each) in the afternoon.
everyone in the Ducati Racing School was already an advanced rider,
most with some, if not a lot race track experience, we didn't get any
classroom instruction prior to going out on the track. This suited all
our group just fine as we were more than anxious to set wheels on the
famed Misano GP and Superbike race track. For our first on track session
in the morning Marco had us follow him in single file at abour 8/10s
speed to learn the track, following his lines and breaking points.
In the next session
we picked up our speed around 9/10s closer to a race pace as we continued
to follow Marco. Our box stock Ducati 999s were all identically set
up and seemed perfectly suited to the Misano track with mostly 2-3rd
gear wide sweeping corners between a long front and rear straight where
we could just slip into 5th gear at about 140mph before clamping hard
on the front brake and tucking in to the next 3rd gear corner. The wide,
torquey Ducati V-twin powerbands let us relax in the corners and concentrate
on our lines and our corner speed rather than being distracted by having
keeping the engine screamingl and the gear lever dancing in mid corner.
Marco preaches to
our group about the glory of using the rear brake to pass going into
a corner. Brian "Cat Man" Catterson (seen
bitting on his lower
lip in the middle here) had to be repremanded repeatedly by Marco between
puffs on the cigarette.
For our 3rd session
on the track Marco had the members of our group alternate riding in
front of him for a lap so he could watch our riding and then he critic
u sback in the paddock. His biggest complaint of most of us was we were
not using our back brake for the corners, which Marco felt helped in
many ways from stablizing the bike, to helping it stop even slower,
to giving us an added measure of braking safety. Then next session out
he followed us again to be sure we practiced what he preached, before
scolding us again over lunch.
The afternoon session
were pretty much an open track day with everyong passing and racing
at full speed.
Marco was always with us in the heat of battle to keep and eye on us
and offer additional riding suggestions at our next pit stop.
I was really amazed
at the durabiliy of the school's stock 999s which ran the entiretrack
day non-stop between the alternating groups of riders with nothing more
than being refueled once an hour. I know my bikes were bouncing off
the rev limiter a couple times per lap, and a few other bikes were getting
dropped and pictched down the road. But all 50 some bikes survived to
the end of the day without a problem. A great testement to the 999 Superbike's
And 999s performed
on the track just as well as they survived it. My own personal Ducati
bikes at home run the hi-zoot Ohlins suspension, but the lower shelf
Showa front and rear suspension on the school's base 999s never once
had me wanting for more as I tracked full throttle through the high
speed sweepers of turns 1 and 4 or diced with group, or the other groups
of riders we'd be lapping at times.
The Misano track
itself was really wide and safe, about 50 feet across, and you could
change lines and pass just about anywhere. If you did over cook a corner,
like I did going into the chicane a couple of times, I just kept the
bike straight, ran across the grass and the sand trap, and re entered
the track on the other side. Every corner has a safe runoff area where
you can either overshoot the turn and be safe, or crashing a slide out
with nothing to impact and get you hurt. The only wall is down the front
straight, well away from the corner. The safety, the facililities, and
the fun of riding Misano (as well as many other tracks in Europe) is
unmatched by any other track in America. Period. Coming to Italy just
to attended DRE alone, is more than worth the cost of the trip. But
if you can also tie-it in to a vacation or and Championship race weekend
or a show like WDW2004, or run up to Bologna for a Ducati factory tour,
you got the ultimate sportbike vacation!
I am jammin' the 999 through one of the beautiful sweeping corners
Depending on riding skill you could choose a DRE class for just
Women, Intermediates, and Advanced riders featuring the Multistrada
streetbike, the naked Monster sportbike, or the hardcore 999 Superbike.
I took the 999 Racing School with about 60 other, and was part of
a 6 rider Advanced group that included Cycle World editor Brian
"Cat Man" Catterson. Our group instrurctor was former
1981 World GP Champion and Superbike star Marco Luchinelli. He showed
us the hot line and technique for getting around Misano quickly
before turning us loose on our own. It was awsome!
Ducati had the
best instructors around to show their students how to safely ride their
Ducatis to their potential. The classes provide you a new bike, a mechanic,
and instuctor, 6 hours of track time on a world class grand prix track,
lunch, a gift package, and a charitichure drawing from famed Ducati
cartoonest Giorgeio Serda "Matitaccia" (the Crazy Pen).
Here was my special chariticture
drawing by Matiticcia, sketched in our paddock garage during our
track session breaks at the Racing School. Being the photographer
of the FastDates.com calendars and always working with beautiful
girls not wearing much clothing. It's dedicated "To Jim the
great Pinup Photographer." the charitcture profile is somewhat
accurate. I'll leave it to speculation as to just what is and
Click on the
SCHOOL BOOKING AND PAYMENT
Reservations are open to men and women from beginner to expert: the courses
will be conducted in Italian and English. Booking will open on February
9th and will be made exclusively on Ducati.com. Payment may be made with
credit card. People who have participated in DRE 2003 or are subscribing
for multiple courses in 2004 are entitled to special purchasing benefits.The
Ducati website will also be the principal method of communication for
DRE and will offer complete and updated information and details on the
and Ruben get down to the real nitty gritty
Where else but at World Ducati Week latter in the week at Misano sould
we attend "Ducati University" and have Team Ducati Corse Director
Claudio Domenicali (above left) explain the intimate
design details of the Desmosedici
MotoGP bike,and have World Championship rider Ruben Xaus (above right)
explain the intricaticies of the Misano race track before you go out
and ride it.
page 1 • WDW
page 2 • WDW
Factory Visit • Ducati
Museum • Ducati
Corse Race Shop • DRE
2010 Ducati Riding Experience will have
Bologna - 11 March 2010 -The eagerly awaited Ducati Riding Experience is back for 2010 and a new cooperation with the Federazione Motociclistica Italiana (FMI) will offer an even more structured programme of riding courses aboard Ducati motorcycles at top Italian circuits.
The DRE offers an all-round experience with great courses, exciting tracks, a line-up of 30 top instructors, a fleet of 90 dedicated Ducati motorcycles and a support staff of more than 30 to ensure participants a valuable and enjoyable day to remember.
While remaining true to the formula that has made the DRE so successful, 2010 will see the adoption of FMI parameters and protocols for the Basic Course, providing a firm foundation for new riders to learn on right from the start. Furthermore, the DRE organisation will share their proven track training methods with Italian Federation experts so as to create the first officially certified school in Italy, a certification to which all schools will have to qualify in future.
With the new FMI official agreement, the DRE now builds upon the high standards already achieved in 2009 and underlines the companyís continuous development and improvement of their riding school in line with its range of motorcycles.
From taking a first step into motorcycling aboard a light, agile and user-friendly Monster 696 in the Basic course to improving existing road skills aboard a Hypermotard 796, 1100 and Monster 1100 in the Intermediate course, Ducati will improve and perfect all riding techniques. Those riders who prefer to improve their talents on the track will have the opportunity to spend a day receiving detailed instruction aboard an incredible Superbike 848, the mid-range Superbike proven, in recent years, to be the best learning platform. Track riders can progress from Racing 1 through to Racing 2 and, for advanced track riders, to the Master Racing course aboard the famous 1198 S with Ducati Traction Control.
A list of prices and full calendar of 2010 events to be held at major Italian circuits are now online at Ducati.com.
2010 DRE Calendar
28-29 April Imola
Basic - Racing 2, Master Racing
20-21 May Adria
Basic, Intermediate, Racing 1
25-25 June Imola
Basic - Racing 2, Master Racing
15-16 July Mugello
Basic - Racing 2, Master Racing
9-10 September Adria
Basic, Intermediate, Racing 1
The Ducati riding courses offer a complete DRE. From those wishing to sit on a motorcycle for the very first time in the knowledge that they are in the company of highly qualified instructors, to those who want to improve their existing road skills in a structured learning environment. Riders who wish to improve their track riding skills can enjoy an exciting, adrenalin-filled experience alongside many professional racers and champions such as Italian riders, Paolo Casoli and Dario Marchetti.
This course is aimed at men and women who have never ridden a motorcycle, but would like to get a taste of the motorcycling world. It includes individual theory lessons and practice sessions in the paddock using the Monster 696. The course is open to a maximum number of 28 participants divided into four groups and is intended to teach the basics of riding, including pulling-away, changing gear, cornering and braking for beginners. A motorcycle licence is not necessary to take part in this course but participants must be over 18.
This course is designed for anyone who has a good level of motorcycling experience, and wants to improve their skills further. Ducati is focusing on safety more than ever and this course uses specific exercises that simulate road situations inside the paddock to improve overall machine control.
The Intermediate course is open to a maximum number of 42 participants, divided into groups of six. After the paddock sessions, participants will spend two track sessions experiencing the thrill of the race circuit in complete safety and accompanied by their instructors. The motorcycles used for this course are the, Hypermotard 796, Hypermotard 1100 and Monster 1100 and applicants must have a motorcycle licence with no engine size restrictions.
Racing 1 Course
This course is aimed at motorcyclists who are track novices and want to enter the track for the first time and learn in a safe environment. Safety and quality are top priorities for Ducati, so the track is restricted exclusively for the Racing 1 course. It concentrates on the basics of track etiquette, techniques, riding style and on enhancing rider confidence.
Racing 2 Course
This course is for expert motorcyclists who already have track experience and want to perfect their riding technique a little further. It is held at circuits that host World Championship races and provide a more demanding environment in which to learn. The course concentrates on riding techniques that maximise performance, perfecting riding style and optimising racing lines.
Both Racing 1 and 2 courses use the Superbike 848, a motorcycle perfectly suited for riders wanting to gain track confidence and optimise their riding skills. Its perfect balance of power, lightweight and superb chassis set-up combined with great instruction will bring out the best in every rider.
Master Racing course
In pursuit of maximum rider performance, Ducati offers a highly focussed tuition in its Master Racing course aboard the awesome Superbike 1198 S. Equipped with Ohlins suspension and Brembo Monobloc brakes the 1198 S uses Ducati Traction Control technology to help tame the Testastretta Evoluzione engine for the track. This course is intended for highly expert riders who want to achieve an even more advanced riding performance alongside top racing instructors and ex champions.
The course has a maximum of three participants in each group to ensure that every rider gets individual attention from the instructor. Each rider also receives an extra track session with professional data acquisition equipment, bringing their total track sessions to seven rather than six in previous editions. Participants must have attended at least one DRE track riding course already and have reached a level of riding appropriate to this course. The course concentrates on extreme track riding techniques more closely associated to a competition racing style.
As part of the Master racing course, participants will be able to compare their ëperformance dataí with that of their instructorís. The system records throttle opening, engine rpm, vehicle speed, lap time, suspension travel, brake pressure, tyre temperatures and corner trajectories to give a full report. At the end of the test, the retrieved data forms a debrief session between each participant and their instructor and each participant is presented with a printed copy of their data.
Ducati has built a highly qualified line-up of instructors, many of who are National, European or even World Champions. They not only bring advanced riding skills to the DRE, but also create an extremely exciting and fun day in a friendly environment, typical of Ducati.
Signing-up for the courses started at the beginning of March on Ducati.com with most courses expected to fill up fast. Payment can be made online by credit card or bank transfer, with special terms reserved for members of Official Ducati Owners Clubs. The cost of the courses includes the use of the motorcycle, fuel, instruction, lunch, free refreshments and a welcome kit.
A professional photographer is also present at the event and images can be viewed and purchased at the end of the day or online after the date. Some special hotel rates are also available.
All participants must wear a leather suit, back protector, gloves, boots and a full-face helmet, however, those not in possession of, or are unwilling to travel with, the appropriate riding gear, can hire it during their online booking process (subject to availability).
More information is available online at http://www.ducati.com
DRE Customer Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +39 051 6413693.
Ducs all in a row.
watch at start/finish.
start your engines!"
down the pit exit to Turn One.
the world's most famous motorcycle cartoonist hard at work making
sketches of all the race School participants. Below is our sketch.
Unfortunately in America, a manufactur's run racing school is
something we may never see. The Japanese sportbike distributors
are particularly concerned with the legal liability problems in
America should a rider get injured while attending one of their
schools. But the Japanese distributors do support independent
race track schools like Honda with Freddie Spencer's school at
Las Vegas Speedway, Kawasaki with Keith Code's California Superbike
school, and Suzuki with the Team Hammer Racing School.