2011 Ducati 848 EVO – Click above for high-res image gallery

At its very core, the Ducati brand has always been all about a race-bred pedigree, and now amongst a pack of formidable competitors, the Italian company seeks to emerge on top of the middleweight battle by having the fittest steed in the paddock. Meet the new 848 EVO sport bike, which boasts performance upgrades aplenty over the previous 848.

The heart of the new machine will beat to a faster tempo as a modified engine now churns out 140 horsepower and 72.3 pound-feet of twist before reaching its crescendo at 10,500 rpm. That's up six ponies from the last 848.

All new cylinder heads, pistons, throttle bodies and camshafts wrapped in a blacked-out engine case are responsible for making the EVO the most powerful two-wheeler in its class. Were guessing the 369lb package will make easy work of a stoplight or starting grid launch with those specs. For those keeping track of such things, the 848 EVO's power-to-weight ratio bests that of the best literbikes from a decade ago.

Continued evolution aimed at harnessing the beast comes in the form of all new single piece Brembo Monobloc calipers offering higher levels of rigidity to resist performance robbing distortion in those way-past-the-mark braking situations. Improved rider feel at the controls will not only be aided by the braking system but also a cross-mounted steering stabilizer. All of these performance and handling improvements are claimed to be a direct result of pro racing feedback, coupled with consumer demand.

Ducati's EVO-ised middleweight will arrive as a 2011 model in North American dealerships as early as late August. One thing that will not be changed, however, will be the price of admission, which remains at $12,995 for an all new, and much more sinister looking, truly black Dark Edition, or $13,995 if your heart desires timeless Ducati Red. Hit the jump to view the full press release. Oh, and we'll see if we can't snag some live shots at the bike's unveiling this weekend at the MotoGP race. Stay tuned!

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New for 2011, the 848EVO is the year's most significant middleweight sport bike

Cupertino, Calif. (20 July 2010) – Ducati proudly announces today the most powerful middleweight sport bike on the market; the 2011 Ducati 848EVO Superbike.

The new Ducati 848EVO is the pinnacle of sport bike engineering, designed to be the leader in the middleweight class. Weighing only 369 pounds and propelled by 140 horsepower and 72 lb/ft of torque, it is the most powerful motorcycle in its category.

The 848EVO is based upon Ducati's best ever selling middleweight Superbike- the 848. Along with the "EVO" designation comes a significant amount of upgrades based on AMA Pro Racing feedback and consumer demand.

At the heart of the 848EVO is the Testastretta Evoluzione engine, significantly redesigned for a higher power output. All new cylinder heads, pistons, throttle bodies and camshafts combine for a forceful output of 140hp @ 10,500rpm and 72.3 lb/ft of torque @9,750rpm. All of this significant engine performance is wrapped in new black cylinder cases.

In addition to the more powerful engine, the 848EVO's chassis and braking systems have been upgraded. A cross-mounted steering damper has been added for greater control of the steering system, and the welcome addition of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires will ensure maximum grip while delivering every last horsepower to the asphalt.

The 848EVO receives a massive upgrade to the braking system in the form of Brembo Monobloc calipers. These single-piece calipers are machined from solid alloy and achieve a higher rigidity and resistance to distortion during extreme braking. The resulting increase in hydraulic efficiency not only delivers incredible braking power, but also provides an enhanced and precise 'feel' at the brake lever.

All this combines to form the most potent, powerful and lightweight middle class sport bike available; both for the road or race track usage. For 2011, a special "Dark" version will be available; which unlike "Dark" editions of Ducati's past will be a truly black bike from front to rear, giving the motorcycle an aggressive look and attitude.

The Ducati 848EVO Superbike will be available in North American Ducati Dealerships at the end of August, 2010. Impressively, MSRP will remain unchanged from the 2010 848 it replaces: $12,995 for the "Dark" edition, and $13,995 for Ducati Red.

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