Ducati 999R 05 Homolagation Superbike
July 8th 2004 - An evolution of power, aerodynamics and style, for a dream Ducati which is more competitive and powerful than ever. Based on the motorcycle representing Ducati in this year's American Superbike Championship (AMA), the 999R has been significantly upgraded for the American market.
A new front fairing, new rear swing arm and suspension, a major upgrade to 150 horsepower for the engine are all intended to reinforce the bike's Superbike status.

AMA technical regulations allow fewer modifications to the engine than the international Superbike regulations so Ducati, which returned to the AMA championship this year, has produced an engine with technical characteristics that are much closer to those of the racing version. The new 999R is yet another step forward in Ducati tradition, which has always been characterised by the manufacture of series production bikes similar to their race versions not only in styling, but also in technical features.

Previous editions of the R model Ducati Suberbikes were produced in limited 500 bike production runs each season to homologate them for Superbike racing. Ducati has not announced any limited production numbers for the revised 2005 model 999R, so we assume demand is now high enough for the $30,000 racer that it will now be included on the regular production line at the Bologna factory.

The Engine
The basic dimensions of the Testastretta engine used on the new 999R remain the same as those of the previous version. The cylinder bore is thus still 104 mm and the stroke stays at 58.8 mm, for a total displacement of 999 cc. However, the maximum power and torque have been greatly increased. Compared to the previous model's 102 kW (139 hp) at 10000 rpm, the new engine produces 110 kW (150 hp) at 9750 rpm. The torque itself has been increased from 108 Nm (11 kgm) at 8000 rpm, to 116.7 Nm (11.9 kgm) at 8000 rpm.
In order to fully understand what these figures mean for the new 999R, it is instructive to take a look at the variation in MEP (Mean Effective Pressure). This value is an important parameter in rating the engine, and measures the work the engine is capable of doing throughout a complete cycle (i.e. through all four phases). The Testastretta engine of the 999R ë04 has a MEP at maximum torque of 13.6 bar. The new model, on the other hand, exceeds 14 bar, a limit which no series production Ducati engine has ever reached before. At maximum power, the MEP value for the 999R model year 2004 Testastretta engine is 12.3 bar, while on the MY ë05, at the same power output, the value increases to 13.5 bar. It is clear that in the two cases under consideration, the volumetric and thermodynamic performance of the new engine (in other words, its capacity to take in and burn the fuel/air mixture) are significantly improved, thanks to the substantial technical upgrades to the cylinder assemblies. In this context, it is worth noting that the air flow rate in the intake ducts (permeability) has been increased by 22.8%, while the exhaust duct flow rate has increased by 5.8%. The overall optimisation of the engine is confirmed by the fact that the improved maximum power value is now achieved at an engine speed which is lower by 250 rpm than the corresponding speed of the Testastretta engine mounted on the previous 999R model. The engine speed limiter is set to 11000 rpm.

New Cylinder Assemblies
In order to improve performance, the cylinder heads and pistons have been completely redesigned and should really be regarded as completely new components, designed specifically for racing. The pistons are forged and constructed from an aluminium alloy with high mechanical specifications to ensure outstanding geometrical stability during the wide thermal excursions to which they are subject. The variation of the geometrical specification, as well as the new shape of the combustion cavity in the head, has resulted in a compression ratio of 12.45 +/- 0.5 :1 (slightly greater than that of the previous R version of the Testastretta engine, which was rated at 12.3:1).

The valve seats are deeper due to the increased valve lifts. The heads have undergone a radical fluid-dynamics redesign. In order to make it possible to use larger diameter valves, their centre distances have been increased which means that the routing and dimensions of the intake and exhaust ducts have also had to be modified.
Still in comparison to the previous 999R Testastretta, the squish surfaces have been increased to improve the turbulent flow in the combustion chamber, resulting in significantly increased combustion efficiency. To summarise, the improvements to the new 999R engineís cylinders have greatly increased the engine's ability to "breathe" as well as its combustion output. The result of these modifications is evident from the significant improvements in overall performance of the road version, which means with absolutely standard exhaust system, silencer and intake system.

The engine also meets established emissions standards. It should be noted that metal gaskets are not used between the head and cylinder of each assembly, but rather special seal rings (called Wills seals) around the perimeter of the combustion chamber. The large cylinder bore makes this necessary if a perfect seal is to be achieved. The overall redesign of the cylinder head has also made it necessary to respecify the cooling ducts. The valve covers are now in magnesium for lower weight.

Timing Belts
To limit the temperature of the timing belts and not only to keep down the overall weight of the vehicle, Ducati's competition bikes have never been fitted with protective timing belt covers. However these units are necessary to protect the belts when the bike runs onto the gravel at the side of the track, and this year the Ducati R&D department has installed timing belt covers with dynamic cooling on the 999R, as already done on the 749R. The horizontal cylinder timing belt cover has an intake with a small sponge filter which attaches to the front fairing. The air is taken in at this point, circulates in the timing belt housing and exits via a NACA opening in the top of the vertical cylinder timing system cover.The engine speed and phase timing wheel
A new element is the timing wheel on the timing drive shaft gear which, along with an magnetic induction sensor, generates the signal used by the ECU to detect the engine speed and operational phase. The timing gear teeth are not used, as on previous Testastretta engines, but instead the system uses a timing wheel with bumps machined onto the outer circumference of the gear face itself. This results in a cleaner electrical signal from the induction sensor.

Engine Casings and Low Sump
The engine casings are sand-cast, to highlight the exclusivity of the product. The dimensions of the units are no different from those used on the previous 999R Testastretta engine. The studbolts which mount the cylinder assemblies are located in such a way as to make it possible to mount such large bore cylinders (104 mm). The lubrication circuit retains the "low sump", a fundamental feature of race engines, as this allows the oil pump to always draw the lubricant in all vehicle positions (e.g. bike cranked over, under harsh acceleration or with the front wheel in the air).

The components in the engine casing of the Testastretta mounted on the new model 999R have not undergone significant modification compared to those used in the previous version, with the exception of the crankshaft. This component now has a new configuration. It is almost completely machined, to optimise its form. It has thus been possible to obtain a weight reduction while maintaining a perfectly balanced crank layout. The lubrication ducts inside the crank pin are also completely new: they no longer run horizontally, but diagonally while directly communicating with the duct along the two main journals. In this way it has been possible to reduce (from three to one) the number of plugs required to close off the surface borings necessary for machining the ducts themselves. The conrod manufactured by Pankl is in titanium to reduce the weight of the crank linkages.

The Testastretta engine of the new 999R uses titanium valves, both on the intake and exhaust. The weight saving is considerable, especially if we consider the strong accelerations imposed by the high engine speed. The valve diameter is 42 mm on the intake with valve lift of 13 mm, and 34 mm on the exhaust with lift of 11.5 mm. On the previous 999R's engine the intake valve diameter was 40 mm with 11.71 mm lift and the exhaust valve diameter was 33 mm with 10.5 mm lift. The use of titanium has obliged Ducati to use special valves seats and guides. The timing diagram has not been substantially changed relative to the previous 999R engine, although the cams are of a completely new shape. The intake valves now open by 21∞ before the TDC, compared with a previous value of 16∞, and close 53∞ after BDC relative to the previous 60∞. The exhaust valves open at 60∞ before BDC as before, while they close 20∞ after TDC compared to a previous value of 18∞. The inclination of the intake and exhaust valves on the new 999R is no different from that of the old version, at 12∞ and 13∞ respectively off the cylinder-head axis. In line with Superbike race engines, the retaining system on the closing register valve stem has been changed. This register is acted on by the desmodromic timing rocker to close the valve, and its thickness determines the play between its surface and the fork-shaped ends of the rocker itself, with which it contacts. This play must be adjusted with great precision, since it greatly affects the mechanical stress on the timing components, as the valve returns to its seat. It also affects the timing diagram, which must be close to the nominal diagram. The closing register retainer system normally used on series Ducati engines exploits the action of two half-rings seated in a cavity machined near to the upper end of the valve stem. These two half-rings engage the register. However, this system has evident limits on a race engine which is often run at its top engine speed. In these conditions the half-rings are severely stressed and tend to deform plastically (they are crushed) and hence do not guarantee a constant play between the register and the rocker. For this reason the Testastretta engine of the 999R uses two titanium half-cones which encircle the valve stem. They have a circular section bump on their inner surface which engages with the groove machined near to the end of the valve stem itself. This groove is however not as deep as that used for the half-ring system. Furthermore, the two half-cones, when the steel closing register is pressing against them, grip the valve stem under friction, thus considerably reducing the stresses around the groove. This enables the valve stems of the new 999R to be not 7 mm (as used on the other Testastretta engines) but 6 mm, resulting in a further weight saving. It is also worth noting that the half-cones, since they perfectly couple with the register, are not subject to deformation even though they are highly stressed. This means that the valve closure play remains constant for a longer time when the engine is running. As already indicated, the valve centre distance has been increased over that on the previous 999R's Testastretta engine. It has thus been possible to use parts with a larger diameter head. Each valve has been moved outwards (orthogonally to the ducts) by 0.75 mm, for an overall increase in stem centre distance of 1.5 mm (the new centre distances are 43 mm between the two exhaust valves and 46.8 mm between the two intake valves). The valve seats also have a higher position relative to those of the previous engine. It follows that they protrude more into the head combustion cavity, which has been completely redesigned along with the larger squish surfaces. The volume of the cavity is thus less than that in the heads of the previous model engine. As already indicated, the consequent increase in the compression ratio has been limited by reducing the height of the piston head.

The Intake and Exhaust Systems
Nothing has changed in the new 999R's intake and exhaust systems compared to the previous version. There is a single, large volume silencer, and the manifolds have no intersection points. In particular, the difference in length between the front cylinder manifold compared to the shorter rear cylinder manifold has been compensated for with a number of differing cross-sections (varying from 45 to 55 mm for the front unit, constant at 45 mm for the rear unit), so as to ensure identical fluid-dynamic behaviour of both exhaust systems. Furthermore, the rear cylinder manifold penetrates into the silencer. The Testastretta engine used on the road version of the Ducati 999R is equipped with catalytic converters. Each cylinder assembly has a dedicated three-way catalytic converter. The one on the front cylinder is fitted about halfway along its exhaust manifold, while the rear cylinder unit is integrated into the initial section of the silencer. The airbox has a large volume (12.5 dm3 ) and is not closed off by the lower surface of the fuel tank. The ducts which lead the intake air from the dynamic scoops on the front fairing to the airbox are equipped with a Helmholtz resonator to reduce intake noise without penalising engine performance. The RH duct is integral to the coolant tank.

Type Twin-cylinder L-configuration,
Desmodromic timing,
4 valves per cylinder,
liquid cooled
Engine bore 104 mm
Stroke 58.8 mm
Total displacement 999 cm3
Maximum power 150 HP @ 9750 rpm
Maximum torque 11.9 kgm @ 8000 rpm
Compression ratio 12.45:1
Intake valve diameter 42 mm
Intake valve lift 13 mm
Exhaust valve diameter 34 mm
Exhaust valve lift 11.5 mm
Intake/exhaust valve material titanium
Valve angle (inclusive) 25∞
Timing diagram (with 1 mm valve play)
Opening before TDC 21∞
Closing after BDC 53∞
Opening before BDC 60∞
Closing after TDC 20∞
Conrod centre distance 124 mm
Conrod material titanium
Primary transmission ratio 32/59
Gear ratios First 15/37; Second 17/30; Third 20/28; Fourth 22/26; Fifth 23/24; Sixth 24/23
Final transmission ratio 15/36
Clutch type Multi-disk, dry sump
Oil pump Gear type
Lubrication circuit capacity 3.8 l
Generator 480 Watt
Electronic ignition/injection ECU IAW 5M2
Ignition stick coil, in sparkplug seat
Injectors one per cylinder, IWPR2, 12-jet
Theft alarm Immobilizer integral to engine ECU

Click for a bigger view.

Frame and Two-Member Swingarm
There have been no substantial modifications to the frame used on the previous 999R, which is still of the trestle type, constructed in high strength steel tubing. The suspended engine is a bearing component and contributes to the torsional rigidity of the assembly. The cross-member supporting the starter motor on the series production bike is removable to enable use of a larger capacity fuel tank, as provided by the championship regulations. The footplates can be moved to two different positions. A great deal of attention has been paid to weight distribution and the location of each single component, which plays a fundamental role in transferring the loads experienced during dynamic riding (braking, acceleration, curves). Indeed, the individual components must be as close together as possible to contain the arms on which the masses act and as a result the momentum generated, so as to ensure highly responsive handling of the motorcycle. This is yet another reason why Ducati has followed the principle of maximum integration in designing the bike, with the aim of achieving a high density of components in a reduced volume. The swing arm is identical to that of the motorcycle which will be raced in the Superbike championships. The fulcrum support is an aluminium casting, while each arm is composed of two sheet profiles pressed and welded together to achieve a box cross-section. The left hand member also includes a lower reinforcing member. The wheel shaft is supported by two forged units welded to the ends of the arms. These components are equipped with a failure screw specified to a specific breaking strain which thus ensures that the wheelbase cannot be lengthened under stress. The wheelbase is the same as that of the 999 and the distance between the wheel centre and swing arm fulcrum is 490 mm +/ñ 12.5 mm (the variability is enabled by the chain tensioning slot). If the failure screw is removed and the rear wheel is set to its furthest back position, the swing arm centre distance is 512.5 mm. In this case the motorcycle's wheelbase is such as to counteract sudden variations in position during dynamic braking and acceleration (thus reducing rear wheel grip failure under braking and counteracting front wheel lift under acceleration while guaranteeing sufficient drive).

Forged Aluminium Alloy Wheels
The rear and front wheel rims are made of forged aluminium, a technology which enables weight reduction while maintaining resistance to mechanical stress. Compared to castings, it is possible to use thinner sections since the material is distributed evenly throughout the component. The lower weight of the rims not only reduces the suspended masses (which significantly improves suspension performance), but also greatly reduces the gyroscope effect and improves the handling of the bike at high speeds (the bike is more agile when entering curves). Forging is done with a hydraulic press using special dies with a load of thousands of tons. The material thus becomes plastic while maintaining its original molecular structure and hence guaranteeing the mechanical properties of the finished part, even with greatly reduced sections. Casting, on the other hand, requires the metal to be liquid, which alters its molecular structure, and the material is poured into a mould for cooling. There is thus no certainty that the material perfectly fills all the mould cavities. To ensure that the mechanical strength of the part is adequate, castings must therefore be thicker and heavier than forged parts.

The Front Forks and New Rear Shock Absorber
The front forks and the new rear shock absorberThe callipers of the front brakes are radially mounted to special mounts on a new ÷hlins fork, the legs of which are surfaced in TiN for improved sliding. The two legs have modified, smaller diameter springs and the spring guide is now in plastic rather than metal. This reduces the formation of detritus which tends to pollute the oil. The lower section of the cartridge rod is fitted with a counterspring, which counteracts the main spring at maximum extension during violent acceleration. The usual cam system allows the steering head angle to be adjusted and thus also the trail (91 ñ 97 mm). The rear shock absorber has been improved by making rebound damper adjustment completely independent (with a one-way valve), so that the rebound damper no longer acts on the compression damper.

New Front Fairing
The headlamp mount and the new mirror mounts are now in magnesium alloy. The fairings with scoops, front fairing between the two side fairings, the front mudguard, chain guard, silencer heat shield and windshield fairing are all in carbon fibre. The tail section, on the other hand, is in techno-polymer. The forms of the fairings are identical to those on the 999R, while the windshield fairing has changed and now lacks the upper flow guides while featuring a plexiglass windshield with a new shape. Overall, apart from improved aerodynamics, the new system provides better rider protection at high speed (when crouched over the fuel tank) and better visibility of the instrumentation (the black rubber surround of the plexiglass windshield does not block the rider's view of the instrument panel warning lights).

More sophisticated engine ECU
The new 999R's engine ECU uses the same sensors and actuators as the preceding version. However, the ECU itself has been changed to the IAW 5M2 unit, again produced by Magneti Marelli, and is now capable of handling a larger number of inputs and outputs, to allow for future expansion of the regulation strategies. The injectors (IWPR2), again from Magneti Marelli, are identical to those used on the race bike and have a higher flow rate for the same opening time. They have 12 atomisation jets and tighter, more constant flow tolerance. The form of the spray and the very small droplet size make an essential contribution to the outstanding performance of the engine. The spark plugs are surface discharge units, Champion RG59V. They do not have the traditional protruding ground electrode, so that the spark no longer follows a fixed route, but is rather generated around the central electrode in the most favourable direction. This greatly reduces the probability of misfires and hence failure of mixture combustion in the chamber. The coils are of the stick type and are therefore located in the spark plug seat on each head. The electrical connection is no longer directly mounted to the body to avoid potential damage due to vibration.

The CAN bus ñ a more streamlined electrical system
The use of a CAN (Controller Area Network) network with two main nodes: instrument panel and engine ECU (Magneti Marelli IAW 5M2), has greatly simplified the electrical system, with a significant weight reduction. To limit the number of cable bundles the designers have eliminated duplications in the number of sensors on the motorcycle. Their signals must therefore be shared by the various on-board processors. This can only be done by sending the sensor's signal to the closest controller, which is then charged with sending it on to the network so that it can be used by the processors which need it. The CAN bus network is composed of only two cables carrying trains of digital signals, each of which carries precise, perfectly decodable information. The nodes of the network (the instrument panel and the engine ECU), have special hardware which enables them to recognise which signal trains concern them and must therefore be processed by their processors. This technology enables a considerable simplification of the electrical system, which in some sections is composed of no more than the double CAN bus cable.

Chassis Specifications
Frame steel tubing, trestle-type
Trail 91 - 97 mm
Steering head angle 23°30’ – 24°30’
Wheelbase 1420 mm
Front suspension stroke 120 mm
Front fork leg diameter 43 mm
Rear suspension stroke 71 mm
Rear wheel travel 128 mm
Front rims and tyres rim MT 3.50x17” tyre 120/70 17
Rear rims and tyres rim MT 5.50x17” tyre 190/50 17
Minimum ground clearance 125 mm Seat height 780 mm
Rider footplate height adjustable to 387 mm and 410 mm

Seat height 780 mm
Maximum width 730 mm
Handlebar width 671 mm
Maximum length 2095 mm
Steering angle 28° 30’ right/left
Dry weight (without fluids and battery) 181 kg
Front brake disks (diameter) 320 mm
Rear brake disk (diameter) 240 mm
Radial four piston front brake callipers 34 mm (piston diameter)
Two piston rear brake calliper 34 mm (piston diameter)
Front brake master cylinder piston 18 mm (piston diameter
Rear brake master cylinder piston 11 mm (piston diameter)


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Ducati's new generation
999 Superbike first introduced in 2003 -
Technical changes, rider's impressions

Engineer Andrea Forni, head of the Ducati Vehicle Testing Department summarizes the fundamentals behind the Ducati 999's dynamic response.

How would you describe the dynamic characteristics of the Ducati 999 compared to the traditional handling of the models produced by Ducati?
"The dynamic response of the Ducati 999 reflects the tradition of the Bolognese motorcycling manufacturer in the field of sports motorcycles, and moreover improves some of the features that have won the fame of our
Superbikes over the decades.
First of all, the directional stability is at peak levels, giving the rider the reassurance of solid, safe steering,
even in the most critical sport riding conditions on the track or road.
On uneven stretches taken at top speed, around curves on the track or highway at full momentum and down hills at maximum throttle, the front of the bike follows the direction decided by the rider, with exemplary
This without triggering steering oscillations, an undesirable side effect of the "extreme" chassis of many late generation sport bikes selected for maximum agility, even to the detriment of stability."

What were the basic design choices of the Ducati 999's frame and chassis?
"Our new Superbike maintains that unique stability that all Ducati's have, but it also improves some basic requirements of the super sport motorcycles thanks to specific design decisions. These include:
1) lowering the rider's seat level by 15 mm (6.9")
2) lengthening the swing arm by 15 mm
3) reducing the distance between the seat and handlebars by 10 mm

Was lowering the seat level done just to improve comfort?
This modification was not made, as one may think, just to achieve greater comfort; it significantly influences the dynamic response of the vehicle as well.
In fact, lowering the rider's seating level, implies lowering the whole center of gravity, which is significantly affected by the position the rider assumes on the motorcycle."

Why does the special positioning of the center of gravity on the Ducati 999 greatly improve its dynamic response?
"In the first place, lowering the center of gravity produces a reduction of the shift in load during braking and acceleration.
The result is a smaller tendency of the bike to pull up when accelerating violently (which reduces the performance during acceleration at lower gears), while the rear wheel tends less to lift during intense braking (an impediment to vehicle decelerations)."

Does the swingarm length affect stability during braking and acceleration of the Ducati 999?
Definitely. A longer swingarm produces a variation in how the static loads are divided up on the wheels, increasing the share of weight weighing on the front and therefore limiting the pull upwards.
So the excellent torque delivered by the Testastretta can be maximized even in the lowest gears without the
front wheel losing contact with the ground too easily.
The rider will always be guaranteed the greatest cohesion with his course. A long swingarm also improves the stability when braking because it increases the bike's wheelbase (distance between the front wheel shaft and the rear wheel shaft). This increase ensures a reduction in the shift in load
when accelerating strongly.
In fact, the loss of grip of the rear during hard braking is countered by the limited transfer of load, although a good part of the weight is concentrated in the front of the Ducati 999. As a result, the motorcycle doesn't "wag".

What are the parameters that assure the superb handling of the Ducati 999?
Lowering the whole center of gravity of the rider-motorcycle unit has beneficial effects on handling as well. In fact, the Ducati 999 is a motorcycle that bends over with little effort and extreme rapidity, demonstrating an enviable pace, even on the most tortuous stretches.

But how can handling and stability co-exist? The modifications described above were obviously "calibrated" in order to enhance the benefits without encountering the natural contraindications?
"For handling purposes, the potentially negative effects due to the increase in the wheelbase are widely compensated for, and exceeded, by lowering the center of gravity.
In addition, getting the rider closer to the center of gravity also reduces the moment of total inertia of the
"rider-bike" assembly with respect to the roll axis, making the variations of the bike's tilt faster and making it
possible to take curves in rapid succession at high speeds and with minimum effort.

But didn't all these modifications to improve the dynamic response of the Ducati 999 negatively
affect riding comfort?
"Lowering the seat level reduces the tilt of the torso with respect to the vertical and consequently the load weighing on the rider's wrists.
A very similar result is obtained through limiting the seat-handlebar distance. In this case, too, a part of the weight of the rider's torso is shifted from the wrist to the pelvis.
The overall result is less fatigue on the arms, with clear benefits on comfort, allowing a better and constant physical condition of the rider, indispensable for extreme riding."

advanced ergonomic solutions.
On the new Ducati Superbike, the rider can adjust, according to his riding style and physical structure, all parameters of the chassis (rake, height of rear), suspension (spring preload, rebound damping, compression damping of front and rear) as well as the position of the foot pegs (lengthways and in height) and the seat (lengthways on the single-seat version).
The goal of the ergonomic adaptability is one of the greatest results achieved with the Ducati 999."

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