Track test superbike Ducati 999 R
Celebrate the 100
The start number 100 is stuck to the fairing, MOTORRAD is celebrating its 100th anniversary: That fits. That’s why there is a world exclusive track test of Neil Hodgson’s almost invincible Ducati 999 R superbike.
Ducati boss Federico Minoli is a powerful man.
convince his team boss Davide Tardozzi to let anyone but his racing drivers Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus sit on the valuable factory racers. Tardozzi wants to see race victories, the necessary material
is almost irreplaceable. There is also enough and above all more important things to do than let a journalist dabble on his almost 200 hp rocket during the season.
But Mr. Minoli is extremely friendly to MOTORRAD and thinks the idea of celebrating the magazine’s centenary with a motorcycle with the starting number 100 is great. It is pure coincidence that it is the fastest superbike ever built, the so far almost invincible Ducati 999 R from world championship dominator Neil Hodgson. And Mr Tardozzi is calm that the Monday after the
At the World Cup races in Oschersleben, a very excited Michael Pfeiffer trudges into his box and scratches his hooves.
Because one thing is clear: such an appointment is unique. To be able to drive the machine of the upcoming world champion is a great honor, fascinating, simply a high point of journalistic activity. Courage and joy are correspondingly great, but they quickly get a damper when Neil Hodgson pulls out for his first test session with new Michelin slicks. The thing is hammering down the home straight so brutally that it makes you feel scared. It will not be easy to understand this halfway appropriately. It’s good that you have a production 999 R with you, so you can at least get used to the track. And maybe study exactly how Neil does it on the slopes.
The standard R has 140 hp, but it feels like 14 when Neil overtakes it for the first time. Swoosh ?? and away eaters, drifting ultra-diagonally into the long left. So don’t study anything, in these three seconds of eye contact you can only learn that current superbikes have nothing, absolutely nothing with street machines
have to do. Why is that? The
Replacement machine in the box serves as a demonstration object, chief technician Ernesto Marinelli willingly provides information.
The racer weighs 162 kilograms without a tank and has an infinite amount of power with »some below 200« horsepower. Light magnesium wheels, the finest fork and great
Shock absorber, everything that goes is made of carbon fiber. “The left column is for the rebound stage, the right one for the compression stage,” explains Ernesto the fork. These
is gas pressure assisted, a huge step forward. Aha. Internally ventilated brake discs? “They’re smaller, only 290 millimeters, so they ensure better handling.” And why does the Ducati also have a large internally ventilated brake disc in the rear wheel? A mystery. “We can adjust the slipper clutch to suit the route and the driver’s wishes, we just change it
Feathers, ”explains Marinelli. But he doesn’t want to screw down the tank. “The injection remains our little secret.” Well, you can try it.
Neil Hodgson drives tire tests. The Michelin people around chief technician Jean Herrissé got ten front tires to sort out. Neil does this with unprecedented precision. A warm-up lap, two laps at the limit, then again
in the box, short statement. Next tire. He always drives the limit laps in 1.27.8 to 1.28.5 minutes. Size
Great, that’s how professionals work.
In the meantime, team boss Davide Tardozzi has yesterday’s emergency machine prepared. The slicks are preheated to operating temperature, they should already have a good 80 degrees. Then the big moment. Tire warmer down, slide the starting number 100 out of the box, a small starter motor presses its friction roller against the rear wheel of the Ducati. The mechanic engages it, the Ducati starts reliably and barks from its silencer hidden under the seat. The engine has to be warmed up a little with rhythmic thrusts of the gas
60 degrees cooling water temperature must not be started. Finally get on, pull the hard clutch, and the first gear engages. The mechanics push a little, one of them even helps with the clutch, not stalling.
Then ?? the Ducati rolls. The tension becomes unbearable: can an accomplished normal driver even drive such a beast? What happens when the 200 hp strike? At first nothing happens. The engine sounds completely normal, it pulls completely normally, the seating position is completely normal, the gears have a reversed shift pattern, which is also normal in this place. It’s fantastic how easy it is to steer the Ducati, no tilting in slight inclines, the engine is well tuned. Like a series machine.
The tide turns when this unbelievable two-cylinder racing engine is even allowed to play to its full potential. Around 7000 rpm are then on the digital display, usually no speed for killer power. But the Hodgson-Ducati pushes off
from this brand, as a Kawasaki ZX-12R can do. But only up to 10,000 rpm, then with such a powerhouse there is also scythe. Not for the Hodgson Duc. The two cylinders shoot their performance out of the combustion chambers, the machine, which had been lying piously until then, becomes a beast. The handlebars slip out of your hands, the beast wants
run away, just throw the driver backwards. Or drive into the next gravel bed at too much speed. Far too much steam on the kettle. So to gas, collect it, do it again with one
Try higher gear on the home straight. In the fourth the acceleration works better. The front wheel is still rising, but if you are prepared for it, you can enjoy the almost 200 hp up to the rev limiter at 13,300 rpm to some extent.
Next round, pinch your jaws on the perfectly dosed
Brake into the target curve, from left to right, with your knee
feel the lean and very gently
accelerate. Raise the machine and let it hammer fully. Shift at 11500 rpm, again only the sky in front of the front wheel, brake, turn to the left, this time let the other knee scrabble. That’s how it is done; Shift earlier before the Duc wants to climb. Only nail it fully in the fourth? Man, is the back straight over quickly, uiuiui, the one on the right, just made it, knock down in a flash? could go easier ?? and accelerate gently in full lean, now the two on the right, and back on the home straight. Shift through four gears, turn off only in fourth gear.
Three laps later, your stamina and concentration are exhausted. Another gentle lap, enjoy one last time the perfectly controllable motor that implements the throttle commands one to one, the easy-to-control chassis, and let the front wheel rise again at 11,000 rpm in the fourth. Back in the box. Neil Hodgson grins, “How was it?” “Great, but how do you keep the front wheel on the ground?” “You have to brake at the rear when you accelerate.” “Otherwise you have way too much steam on the bike.” Learned something again. Hence the large rear brake.
Mr. Minoli’s number 100 was ge-
nau the right one to celebrate the 100. Many thanks!
Engine: water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, two timing belt-driven camshafts, four valves each, desmodromic actuation, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 54 mm, engine management. Bore x stroke 104.0 x 58.8 mm, displacement 999 cm3, rated output 146 kW (198 PS) at 12750 rpm Max. Torque k. A. Power transmission: hydraulically operated multi-disc dry clutch, anti-hopping system, six-speed gearbox, adjustable primary drive. Chassis: tubular frame, upside-down fork, guide tube diameter 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm, central spring strut with lever system , adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, internally ventilated double disc brake at the front, floating brake discs, Ø 290 mm, four-piston calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, two-piston caliper. Michelin tires Chassis data: adjustable steering head angle, wheelbase 1420 mm, spring travel f / h k. A. Weight 162 kg Guarantee none Color Red Price priceless
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