Mason Hanson of Medford was one of the first along with the likes of actors Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise to buy a limited edition $72,500 Ducati motorcycle. pennell photo - Bob Pennell

Local biker among first to receive Ducati 'superbike'

While Hollywood celebrities were fighting to receive the first of the coolest racing superbikes delivered to the U.S., a local motorcycle enthusiast was among the first, if not the first, to pick a coveted Ducati Desmosedici RR.

Mason Hansen, resident Ducati fanatic, said he couldn't verify whether Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington and Michael Jordan received their Grand Prix replica first, but he does know he was at the top of the list.

"I was the first of seven to receive one in this country," said Hansen, 33, of Medford.

About 300 of the $72,500 handbuilt superbikes will make their way from Bologna, Italy, to the United States, he said. Only 1,500 of the red-and-white Moto Grand Prix racing replica motorcycles will be made. Cruise, a well-known Ducati enthusiast, was due to get the first delivered to the U.S. a couple of weeks ago. Entertainment magazines allege Pitt had a jealous reaction about the arrangement. Hansen said he doesn't know what's true in the Hollywood gossip, but he knows Ducati fans, or "Ducatisti," are eager to get their limited edition machine.

"Then they break the mold and it's done," said Hansen, adding the bikes are already sold out.

The Desmosedici RR, sporting the latest in titanium, magnesium and carbon fiber technology, can zoom up to 200 mph. It's the first production street bike to mimic the motorcycles raced in the prestigious MotoGP series.

Hansen picked his up Feb. 8 in Portland.

"They go in the sequence of your reservation," said Hansen, who is the third-generation working in his family-owned motorcycle store between Phoenix and Medford.

Ducati announced it was going to make the bike available to the public four years ago.

"In 2006 people put their name on the list and I happen to be right on top of it," he said, adding that he owes his status to his father, Craig Hansen, for owning the store.

The father-son team teaches at CLASS motorcycle schools in California. The younger Hansen said he plans to use his bike for instruction.

"I'm going to ride it on tracks," he said. "I'm not going to race it."

While he loves the orange-tinted Ducati red, it's the engine roar that inspires an ear-to-ear grin.

"The sound is the coolest thing about this motorcycle — it's just wicked exotic," said Hansen. "When you hear it, it just takes you over the edge."

Motorcycle enthusiast Tom Lavine of Medford agreed the Ducati has a unique sound.

"It's almost radical," he said. "It is loud. T'ain't no Honda 600."

Lavine said the sportier the bike is, the less practical it is.

"It's like the golfer: They use a specific club for a certain shot," he said. "It (the Ducati) is nothing you're going to put a backpack on and ride to New York."

But Lavine said he wouldn't have wanted one.

"I told Mason if you ever see me sniffing around another sport bike again, hit me on the head," he said.

Hansen said it's the only four-cylinder Ducati ever built for the public.

"It's like riding a board with a rocket on it," he said.

But it's a stiff ride, he said, adding that he took his first ride up Interstate 5 to Canyonville.

"This bike beat me up. I was very sore the next day," he said.

He's taken precautions to protect his new purchase, which has put him into debt.

"One's already been stolen at gunpoint," he said.

But Hansen said he's waited four years and has no regrets.

"It was the pinnacle of what you could purchase in an industry in which I've lived," he said.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail The Associated Press also contributed to this article.

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