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The photos of the S 1000 RR were released during a speech by Hendrik von Kuenheim, who has just become the General Director of BMW Motorrad after having served as the President of BMW Spain.

Mr. von Kuenheim officially confirmed the rumors: BMW will race in World Superbike. Here's an excerpt from his speech:

"As you may expect of BMW Motorrad, the design of our BMW Supersports will be absolutely unique and very different. While it will of course reflect the usual design language in the segment, it will at the same time offer a strong and powerful message from the BMW brand.

Now let me briefly give you the status of our entry into the Superbike World Championship: Today I can confirm that our preparations are proceeding according to plan in every respect: In compliance with the rules of the Series, the new motorcycle will be available to customers in 2009 and we will build 1,000 production models by the end of next year.

We are implementing our racing activities in close cooperation with our partner Alpha-Racing, a specialist very experienced in motorsport. Located near Munich, Alpha-Racing have already started work in a special production hall specifically for this purpose.

The process of building up the team is proceeding at full swing and we have already filled the key positions. The team is a combination of specialists from BMW and members of the Alpha-Technik racing crew, as well as further specialists from professional Superbike racing.

Choosing the development and test riders for our racing machine, we are currently operating in a revolving system to gain as much experience as possible. The selection of test riders ranges from experienced riders still active today all the way to young "top guns".

In the upcoming weeks and months we will systematically start production of the racing machine in its individual power and performance stages, testing the new model as we go along."

"We naturally realize that the established teams have many years of experience. But we wish to take up this challenge in particular and have put together a highly motivated team precisely for this purpose, a team which will prove the performance of our new motorcycle in professional racing.

Naturally, we will have to go through a certain process of learning - which is precisely why we have set ourselves realistic targets for the time being: In our first year in the Superbike World Championship we seek to bring home several places in the Top 10 and to consistently close the gap to the top teams.

In year 2 we plan to catch up with the top teams and to win our first places on the podium. And our medium-term objective, obviously, is to win the World Championship!"

"You have been speculating a lot on the designation of our new model. So let us put an end to this speculation today. BMW Motorrad's first Supersports will be the "S 1000 RR".

In choosing the name and designation of BMW's new Supersports, we're consistently following our nomenclature at BMW Motorrad. In this name, the "S" stands for Supersports, marking a new class of motorcycles from BMW. The "1000" designates the size of the engine, and the "RR" naturally stands for the model itself."

"Dear Motorcycle Friends, many motorcycle magazines have published photos of a racing prototype which we have tested on several racing tracks. Today we would like to show you this racing prototype, offering you an initial impression of the package and the technology. But when you see the motorcycle in a minute, please note that neither the design nor the impression of quality are the same as on the production model following at a later point."

This thing is going to be fast.

BMW Motorcycle Blog » BMW S 1000 RR - Announced. : Gateway BMW Motorcycles, Saint Louis, Missouri
 

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I hope Browning is right, but I could see it gettin' over 20K in base configuration. Looks fun, so I hope not. But is it going to be worth more than a Ducati 1098 or the current crop of liter bikes? Seems unlikely, at least initially.
 
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