2003 Ducati 999 | Sport Rider

2003 Ducati 999

DUCATI 999 AND 999s

1) The "L" two cylinders revolution

The Testastretta is the latest evolution of the Desmodromic engine. Compared to the previous generation Desmoquattro, the new Ducati 999 engine incorporates multiple improvements including a completely redesigned crankshaft, cylinders, and cylinder heads.

The cylinder heads have a steep included valve angle of only 25 degrees; 12 degrees for the intake valves and 13 degrees for the exhaust valves. This allows a very compact combustion chamber, and enables the use of flat top pistons while still having a high compression ratio of 11.4:1. Flat top pistons are the optimal choice for efficient combustion because they create the best environment for a smooth and linear flame front. The intake and exhaust valves have increased in diameter to 40 mm and 33 mm, respectively. The Testastretta's desmodromic timing system has evolved significantly with improvements in the design of components and the use of advanced surface treatments, which result in longer maintenance intervals for the valve-train. The stroke of the Testastretta engine in the 999 is 63.5 mm. The shorter stroke lowers the average speed of the piston resulting in a higher RPM redline, maximum performance, and improved reliability. In addition, the lubrication circuit was engineered and developed directly from Ducati's extensive racing experience.

A new deep sump is integrated into the engine casing, which ensures constant oil pick-up even when the motorcycle is accelerating aggressively or cornering at extreme lean angles. The exhaust system and single-muffler have an innovative non-symmetrical layout that takes advantage of the free space created by the new swing arm and rear section of the frame. The paths of the manifolds and the high-volume single-muffler have resulted in a significant improvement in torque at the middle of the RPM range. The L-twin engine configuration uses exhaust pipes of different lengths. Optimally, exhaust pipes should be equal length. The Ducati 999 solves this in a unique way by varying the diameters of the exhaust pipes to simulate equal length pipes. The front pipe diameter increases from 45 to 55 mm compared to the constant 45 mm diameter of the rear pipe. The Testastretta used on Ducati 999 is in compliance with Euro 1 clean air standards regulation and is expected to be as well with the forecasted Euro 2 still not defined at the present moment. The challenge of allowing enough air to the engine while keeping intake noise low has been accomplished by increasing the airbox volume to 12.5 liters and by fitting the fresh air intake tracts with a Helmotz resonator to reduce intake noise without sacrificing performance.

2) The Ducati 999 - 999s main characteristics

The Ducati 999 is a revolutionary motorcycle. It contains hundreds of improvements and innovative technological solutions (described in succession), and represents a true generational leap forward.


The Ducati 999 has an aggressive style, a high aerodynamics efficiency and the best functionality of all his parts. The turn signals are integrated into mirrors, the front fairing is narrow and highly aerodynamic thanks to the stacked polyellipsoidal headlamps, mirrors/indicators have quick release. Ducati's approach to the 999 project was unique and innovative. Throughout the process, special attention was paid to the integration of the individual elements of the motorcycle and to the details of each component. The cutting-edge technological tools utilized for the design of the Ducati 999 are the same as those used to design the Ducati GP bike. The Ducati 999 is the first Ducati designed entirely with the use of 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD). Specific software was chosen for each design phase. Alias Studio Paint for digital sketches, Alias Studio for the 3D modeling and Unigraphics for the mechanical components.


Great attention was paid to perfecting the interaction between rider and machine. The designers developed a riding position and control adjustability that allows optimum ergonomics, performance, handling, and control on the road and track. Fitting the bike to the individual rider's size and preference is accomplished with five way adjustable footpegs and a seat/tank combination on the single seat version that is adjustable fore and aft by 20mm. The layout of the 999 "loads" the front end of the bike appropriately for optimum handling without putting excessive weight on the rider's hands. Ease of maneuvering at low speeds was also improved by increasing the lock-to-lock steering angle to 28.5 degrees.


The Ducati 999 form was designed to minimize air resistance at high speeds and to precisely distribute aerodynamic load. The front fairing and the mirrors protect the rider from the wind and the elements. The vents on the front fairing eliminate vortices of air in the handlebar zone, while the "air conveyors" improve the aerodynamics of the motorcycle by limiting the horizontal dimensions of the slipstream. The lower part of the fairing extends to the swing arm, which produces an even, turbulence-free airflow past the partially shielded rear wheel.


The trellis frame is constructed of welded and mitered high-strength ALS450 steel tubing. The front fork rake is adjustable between 23.5 and 24.5 degrees due to a specially - designed eccentric in the steering head. The motorcycle's 1420 mm wheelbase is unaffected by this adjustment, whereas the trail changes from 91 mm to 97 mm. The steeper head angle increases agility and the standard position gives improved stability. The 999 comes fitted with a steering damper as standard equipment (Sachs Boge for the Ducati 999 or an adjustable Ohlins for the Ducati 999s).


The double-sided, sand-cast, aluminium swingarm was designed to ensure optimum stiffness without increasing weight. The chain tension is maintained by two horizontal sliders that allow adjustment without changing the ride height or handling characteristics of the motorcycle. The rear suspension is fully progressive and fitted with a shock that is adjustable for rebound damping, compression damping, and spring preload. The 999 comes standard with a Showa shock and the 999s version is equipped with an Ohlins shock.


The Ducati 999s uses Ohlins forks (wheel travel: 120 mm) and the standard Ducati 999 uses Showa forks (wheel travel: 125 mm). All fork models have 43 mm TiN coated legs to reduce friction and offer adjustable rebound damping, compression damping, and spring preload. The front wheel axle has a 25 mm diameter for rigidity, ; a key factor for precise handling.


The new, elegantly executed, ultra-low and compact front brake and clutch master cylinders were co-designed with Brembo to allow for increased steering lock angle and a lower front fairing. The clutch lever, the front brake, and the rear brake levers are all fully adjustable. The Brembo braking system consists of twin 320 mm steel front brake discs and a steel 240 mm diameter rear brake disk. The front discs are spaced farther outboard from the front wheel to improve the cooling efficiency of airflow. The thickness of the brake discs was reduced from 5 mm to 4.5 mm, and an increase of the inner diameter of the discs reduces unsprung weight and improves handling. The front brake calipers have four 34 mm pistons and four individual brake pads. Sintered brake pads are fitted to improve wet-weather stopping.


The major source of innovation on the electrical system is in the use of a CAN line (Controller Area Network) to which two nodes are connected: the instrument panel and the Magneti Marelli engine control unit. To limit the number of electrical cable bundles, duplication of sensors on the motorcycle was eliminated. An advanced 5.9 M CPU engine control unit developed by Magneti Marelli controls the functions of the engine electrical circuit and the ignition system. The injectors are externally mounted on the intake funnels and are positioned directly upstream of the throttle bodies. The ignition coils are "direct ignition" type and are integrated with the spark plug caps, which eliminates possible electromagnetic interference by eliminating the spark plug wires. A built-in anti-theft device called an "Immobilizer", which prevents starting the motorcycle unless the correct key is used, protecting the Ducati 999.

For more information go directly to the Superbike page at Ducati's website: Ducati 999S/999/749S/749

Download the full press document in pdf format (1.7MB): 2003-duc-999.pdf

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