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Inside Troy Bayless' World Championship
winning 2001 Ducati 996R
The new 2002 superbikes previewed Here

Troy Bayless' Championship winning 996R and Penthouse Pet Zdenka are featured in Members Corner and in the 2003 Fast Dates Calendar. It is illegal to download or copy these images to other websites

The new Testastretta Superbike is just at the start of it's
development cycle -with a lot more power to come!

More power is good…just heap it on and it will all come good in the end. That's the way it goes in racing, isn't it? Not at Ducati. At the start of the year, chief engineer Corrado Cecchinelli said the new Testastretta engine used in the 996R was only at 50 per cent of its development capacity and predicted the factory would find another 20bhp on top of the 174bhp it had unleashed before the start of the year. But that hasn't happened - Cecchinelli revealed why. Peak power is exactly the same as it was at the start of the year - though in the extremely capable hands of Troy Bayliss it has been leading the championship since the third round of the year in Australia. That's because Ducati is playing safe. The aim is to get more power and performance in small stages without hitting reliability or Ducati's legendary user-friendliness.

Testastretta means "narrow head," but this explanation doesn’t describe how different the classic Italian V-twin is to the engine that can trace its history all the way back to the 851 motor from 1986. It does not mean the head of the engine is narrower - instead, the angle between the inlet and exhaust valves has been reduced. The advantage is a more compact combustion chamber, letting the fuel/air mixture burn more efficiently.

2001 World Champion Troy Bayless wheelies the 996R during early season testing, both of which went on to secure both the Rider's and Manufacturer's championship titles. ©
When you consider the race version is already putting out 174bhp at the crank and revs to 13,000rpm, 500rpm higher than the 2000 bike, it's clear some pretty big internal changes have been made to the new
motor. There had to be, as the old 996SPS had reached the end of its development. The main change - and the one that accounts for the more metallic, higher-pitched boom the bike makes compared to the 2000-spec 996s - is that the bore has been increased and the stroke shortened, which means that while the pistons are larger, they move up and down over a shorter distance, allowing the engine to rev higher without the risk of mechanical failures.

The race bike also makes extensive use of titanium components, which helps lighten the new motor by 5kg (11lb). Not only does this help get the new 996R as near to the 162kg (356lb) minimum WSB weight limit as Ducati ever has, it means moving the parts takes less effort and there is less stress on them.

Cecchinelli said: "The development of our engines is continuous - once we find out one cylinder head has reached the end of the line we will develop another one that can do a better job. The same goes for every component in the engine. When you realise the 996SPS puts out 123 bhp after years of development and the new engine is already putting out 134bhp in standard form, you can see that there is still a long way to go."


That's why, despite a shorter stroke which would tend to suggest considerably more rpm, the engine is only revving 500rpm higher than the old one. After several thousand miles of testing, the team knows the engine can handle that. The next step is to add another 500rpm and make sure all the internal components can take the strain before moving on.

Cecchinelli said: "This is a much better bike than last year and we are working very closely with Magnetti-Marelli to tune the fuel injection to make sure the bike is nice to ride with no problems on part throttle openings."

The fuel injection system is a similar concept to the single injector system used last year, but has been further enhanced by Marelli to provide as much set-up and fine tuning to suit each track as possible. The Testastretta's slightly smaller cylinder heads allow Ducati to fit a deeper base to the airbox, to get the biggest volume of air possible into the engine.

The big-bore 60mm exhausts are 4mm up in diameter compared with last year's race bike to cope with the increased airflow through the engine. The fuel injection system is one of the key areas Ducati has been working on this season to find a set-up that not only suits the different styles of the three riders - Bayliss, Ben Bostrom and Ruben Xaus - but doesn't make it more difficult to ride.

Cecchinelli said: "The main work this year has been making sure the fuel injection and ignition are working as well as they can. This has been 90 per cent of the job we have had to do rather than try to find more power. There has been some work this year on camshafts which has given a lot more power, but during testing we found the bike was too difficult to ride so we went back to the old ones. Once we knew the bike was working well, we were anxious to make sure the reliability was there. That has meant stronger conrods, pistons and cams to make sure nothing will break during races."

Previous Ducati race bikes ran hot, so the 996R has completely revised radiators to increase the flow of coolant. While Ducati has been tweaking the engine, it has also been working on the rest of the 996R. The Ohlins suspension has been uprated for this year, with the 42mm upside-down forks offering more adjustments than ever before. The multitude of different springs, oils and rebound and compression damping changes available mean it's rare a set-up can't be found to suit a track.

The rear shock has been altered, too. A larger body reservoir helps control the rising-rate linkage more effectively. These linkages both raise and lower the rear of the bike and control the rising rate of the suspension. The high degree of adjustability is also vital since every gearing change not only alters the wheelbase, but also alters the rear ride height due to the eccentric chain adjustment system. Riders have a massive choice of linkages to suit the different tracks and their riding styles - each has a billet aluminium pushrod especially made. Bostrom likes his bike loose and high at the back so he can slide it into and out of the turns. Bayliss likes a more controlled approach and has a stiffer set-up.

Brembo has also supplied the latest 320mm ventilated front discs, which are gripped by radially-mounted calipers. These have the advantage of reducing flex and heat build-up in the pads and improving response. The Brembo technicians have coated the outside edge of the discs with heat-reactive paint that allows them to see what temperature the discs have reached and how well they have worked. This shows Ducati is being as cautious with the braking as it is with the engine, keen not to ruin the overall package by making hasty changes.

Championship winner Bayliss said: "There's so much about the new bike that is so similar to the old one that you can still feel the family resemblance. But it's in the key areas of power delivery that the bike is so strong. Bottom-end grunt is simply amazing - the instant you crack the throttle it rockets out of the corners so much better than the old bike."

NEW TESTASTRETTA 998R- New Race Homologation Model for 2002! (9/18)
At the Milan International Motorcycle Show in September 2001, Ducati pulls another ace out of its sleeve with a newly revised 998R model for the 2002 year, effectively the current 996R but with an even shorter stroke engine Testastretta motor at 104mm bore x 85.8mm stroke displacing 999cc and stock compression raised from 11.4 to 12.3:1 and rated at 139 horsepower with street tuning. The even shorter stroke engine will allow even higher RPMs and proportionally more horsepower, possibly as much as 220 hp when fully developed, and certainly more than present race tires can handle. This new short stroke Testastratta should correctly be called a 999R to differenciate it from the 998 longer stroke models, but just like the 996R, Ducati has a history of confusing us this way to tie-in the race bikes to the current streetbikes, possibly for marketing reasons.

The stock DUCATI 996R CHASSIS:

• Frame Tubular steel trellis frame Wheelbase 1410 mm with adjustable Rake 23.5 - 24.5 deg.
• Front suspension Ohlins with TiN upside-down fork fully adjustable Front wheel travel 120 mm
• Front wheel Marchesini 5-spoke light alloy 3.50 x 17 Front tyre 120/70 ZR 17
• Rear suspension Ohlins progressive linkage with adjustable monoshock Rear wheel travel 130 mm
• Rear wheel Marchesini 5-spoke light alloy, 5.50 x 17 Rear tyre 190/50 ZR 17
• Front brake 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, 4-piston 4-pads caliper
• Rear brake 220 mm disc, 2-piston caliper
• Fuel capacity 17 l (4 l reserve). Ducati weight 185 kg / 407 lbs. Seat height 790 mm
• Instruments: Speedometer, rev counter, indicators for high beam, turn signals, warning light for low oil pressure, fuel level, warning light for neutral, water temperature.


Team Ducait Corse World Championship Superbike

Engine: Testastretta 998cc Type: four stroke "L" twin
Capacity: 998cc Bore x stroke: 100mm x 63.5mm
Brake horsepower: 175HP at 12000 r.p.m
Timing system: desmo DOHC Valves: 4 per cylinder
Carburation: two 60mm single-injector throttle bodies
Fuel system: Electronic injection system, MF3S module
Ignition: Magneti Marelli electronic ignition
Injector: Magneti Marelli IWF1, one per cylinder
Lubrification: gear oil pump, with oil cooler
Final drive: Regina chain
Top speed: 300km/h

Chassis Specifications
Frame: steel tube trestle
Front suspension: 42 mm upside-down ÷Ohlins fork
Rear suspension: Single-sided magnesium swingarm, with ÷hlins shock absorber
Brakes Make: Brembo Front: two 320mm Dia. or 290mm Dia., stainless steel floating discs.
Rear: 200mm Dia. lightweight disc or 218mm Dia. vented disc. Fluid: Shell Advance Brake DOT 5.1
Trasmission Gearbox: 6-speed Clutch: dry multiplate cluch
Tyres Make: Michelin: Troy Bayliss, Ruben Xaus., Dunlop: Ben Bostrom
Front: 12/60-17"or 12/60-420 - 16,5" Rear: 18/60-17" or 19/67-420 - 16,5"
Overall dimensions Length: 2045mm Width: 680mm
Dry weight: 162Kg (356 lbs.), with oil and water
Wheelbase: 1425mm Fuel tank capacity: 24L