The Ducati motorcycle Tom Cruise rides in those annoying ESPN commercials isn't really a big, bad Ducati. It's just an Aprilia sportbike disguised as one. Wes Siler of Hell for Leather Magazine explains why.
Last week we showed you an Aprilia SXV dressed up as a Ducati Hypermotard that Tom Cruise was riding on the set of "Knight and Day." A bit embarasing for Ducati, right? It was and it caught them by surprise, they didn't know about the bike and didn't know why it was being used. Now, with Ducati's help, we've gotten to the bottom of the story. Turns out it wasn't the Hypermotard's ability that was the problem, it was Cruise's.
According to Ducati and "Knight and Day's" stunt coordinator, Greg Smrz, the Ducprilia was at no point used for any scenes in the movie.
What the Aprilicati was created for was an ESPN promo in which Cruise himself decided to do a 30-foot long, 3-foot high jump on camera. Apparently the looney tune is a good rider, just not up to the standards of a movie stunt person and there was obviously some concern for his well being, helmetless jumps and all. Thus the SXVtard.
"He isn't as good a rider (although pretty good from what I hear) as the stunt guys, so they tried to make it as light as possible by using the Aprilia, and having a dummy passenger to make it easier and safer for him," explains Ducati. "It shaved 40% of the weight. They looked at pure dirt bikes as a cheaper alternative but the Aprilia was easiest to make look like the Hyper."
Greg Smrz explains further, "If you will note, there is a 50lbs dummy on the back of Tom's motorcycle. The reason for this is weight. In addition, the Aprilia has longer travel suspension."
That's right. That weird-looking blonde chick on the back is actually a 50lbs weight intended to shift the bike + movie star + dummy's center of gravity backwards, ensuring the rear wheel would hit first when Cruise landed.
So if you see a Ducati in the film, it's a Ducati, albeit likely a heavily modified one. According to Ducati, the bike's ability to stick huge jumps was boosted by, "totally different fork, shocks, link, rear subframe, weld beads on engine mounts, re-enforced steering head and swingarm mounts." If you see a Ducati doing unrealistic things in the movie though, that's probably CGI.
Wes Siler edits Hell For Leather Magazine and seriously believes the maxim "Four wheels good, two wheels better."