Bike feature: Ducati 999

It is always difficult to follow something truly iconic.
When Ducati wanted to replace the 916, their designer Massimo Tamburini had already gone to Mv Agusta and created the equally fantastic F4 superbike a few years earlier.
The task of creating the 999 fell on Pierre Terblanche. Who had created the legendary Ducati Supermono a few years earlier.
This resulted in a very different design from the previous generation. Gone was the single sided swingarm for a more conventional double sided one.
The bodywork looked futuristic with its many sharp angles and vents in the front.
Ducati fans reactions were divided at launch, but time has been kind to the 999 and it now has seen a renewed popularity among motorcyclists.
It was also a far more reliable, better handling and faster bike than its predecessor and will no doubt be collectible in the future.

The 999 was available as a base model, S model and a top of the line R model:

The base model had Showa forks and 124 horsepower for the 2003 model year.
Brembo brakes were a feature on all three models with radial calipers for the R and S models.

The S featured in addition to the base model Ohlins suspension, lighter wheels and a few more horsepower.

The top spec R was a truly special machine with full carbon fiber fairing from the factory, shorter stroke engine, Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes and forged Marchesini wheels.
2003 and 2004 models were also numbered with a plaque on the triple clamp.
Power output was 150 horsepower for the 2006 model and it also had titanium valves.
The R was actually a genuine 999cc as opposed to the 998 cc of the S and base models and had a shorter stroke.
These bikes where the closest thing to a WSBK racer you could buy at the time.

In WSBK the 999 was a hugely succesful racebike, winning a total of three WSBK titles in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
It was last raced in the 2007 season even though the 1098 was Ducatis production superbike at the time.
Changes in race regulations increased the capacity to 1200 cc for twins, making the 999 the last 1000 cc twin superbike from Ducati.

Technical data 999 R (2006):

CC: 999
Engine:90 degree desmodromic L-twin, liquid cooled with four valves per cylinder.
Bore and stroke: 104 x 58,8 mm
Power: 150 HP
Torque: 117 NM
Gearbox: 6 speed
Clutch: Multiplate dry clutch
Suspension: Ohlins front and rear
Brakes: Brembo
Frame: Tubular trellis steel frame
Weight: 181 kg

Photo: Pixabay

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