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Ducati's 2003 Effort in
World Superbike

11 Manufacturers' and 9 Ridersí titles are Ducatiís enviable record in the world's top category for production-based racing bikes, and this means that the new Ducati Fila team will surely be a chief candidate for honours in the 2003 championship. Being able to count on the undisputed talent of riders such as Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus helped to speed up the development of the new bike, which showed during early winter testing that it would become a worthy heir to the 998, a bike that has reached technical maturity on nearly all circuits.

2003 will again see Ducati accompanied in their challenge by Shell Advance and Michelin, and both companies are sure to make a vital contribution to the final result.

But 2003 will also be the year in which the Superbike technical regulations undergo a considerable change for the first time since the start of the championship. It will in fact be possible for twin and four-cylinder machines to compete with the same engine capacity (1000cc). Some manufacturers have already taken advantage of these changes and will take part in the 2003 championship with new models, while others are preparing for entry in 2004.
Ducati continues to believe in the potential of the twin-cylinder engine, which they consider to be the best possible solution for an equilibrium between power and ëdriveabilityí for road use, and therefore we will strive to maintain the new 999 Testastretta competitive even after the arrival of the new 1000 cc four-cylinder bikes.


The 2003 Factory Ducati Corse 999F 03 World Superbike

Ducatiís third chapter in the World Superbike Championship gets underway with the new 999.Ducatiís WSBK history began in 1988 with the 851/888, a bike that was capable of winning on its race debut in the hands of Marco Lucchinelli at Donington, and taking three Ridersí titles (1990 Raymond Roche, 1991/92 Doug Polen). The success story continued with the 916/996/998 from 1994 to 2002. With these three models in fact, the Borgo Panigale manufacturer won six Ridersí (1994/95/98/99 Carl Fogarty, 1996 Troy Corser, 2001 Troy Bayliss) and eight Manufacturersí titles.

2003 gets underway with the debut of the Ducati 999, which shares most of the fundamental engineering components with its predecessor, the 998: twin-cylinder testastretta desmo engine, tubular trestle frame, underseat exhausts. The Factory 'í03 Superbike has been designed hand-in-hand with the road-going 999R, guaranteeing that the homologated bike has all the characteristics required for this high-performance racing version. The working organisation was fundamental in this respect: a totally dedicated team, led by Ernesto Marinelli, was responsible for every phase of the 999 F03's development, but it constantly interfaced with the group that developed the 999R streetbike, led by Gianluigi Mengoli.

The Ducati 999 was designed taking account of the experience accumulated over the years with the development of the 998: a key element here is the dual rear swingarm, which was successfully tried out by Carl Fogarty in private testing at Phillip Island in 2000, but which was not fitted to the 998, because it differed considerably from the production version. This solution has considerably improved the behaviour of the bike on used tyres, by eliminating the chattering that was often present in the same conditions on the 998.

The entire project has followed the methods used for the development of the Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP: an integrated virtual design, and particular attention paid to aerodynamics, which together with the new swingarm is one of the strong points of the new bike. The changes made to the 999 twin-seater to produce the 999R, which was the starting-point for the 999 Factory, are the result of wind-tunnel work carried out in collaboration with the British aerodynamics specialist, Alan Jenkins.

The results obtained in the wind tunnel and the first track tests have confirmed that the surfaces of the 999 are much more efficient than the 998 in aerodynamic terms, producing a considerable increase in top speed.The racing position has also been modified, with the rider now sitting further forward and lower down for a better control of the bike.

The Ohlins front fork is the same as the one used on the Desmosedici MotoGP. In particular it is characterised by the forkbottom designed to be integrated with the gas reservoir container, making a very compact design.

As for the F03 engine, this is an evolution version of the short-stroke F02 engine (104x58.5 mm) introduced in 2002. Numerous modifications have been made to improve reliability and usability. The camshaft profiles are different, to reduce timing belt wear. The exhaust system, developed in collaboration with Termignoni, is particularly sophisticated: the muffler is based on a mixed-chamber and absorption system which has brought about a weight reduction of 50% over the 998ís oval double exhaust system.

Ducati Corseís computational fluid dynamics experience in numerous applications was fundamental to achieve this result. Since 1996 all the fluid dynamics parts of the engine have been developed by means of computer simulation programmes, the reliability of which is now excellent.
The electronics have also undergone an important development: the Ducati 999 in fact shares the same electronic management system as the Desmosedici. This is a cutting-edge piece of hardware, capable of producing accurate management of the Testastrettaís engine mapping .

Engine (Testastretta)
Type 4-stroke L- twin
Capacity 999cc
Bore x stroke 104mm x 58.8mm
Timing system Desmo DOHC
Valves 4 per cylinder
ECU Electronic Ignition-injection managed by Magneti Marelli MF5
Fuel injection Magneti Marelli electronic injection system
Injector Magneti Marelli IWF1, one per cylinder
Lubrication gear oil pump, with oil cooler
Brake horsepower 189HP at 12500 rpm

Gearbox 6-speed
Clutch dry multiplate clutch

Final drive Regina chain

Top speed 305km/h

Chassis / Suspension
Frame tubular steel trestle
Front suspension 42 mm pressurized upside-down ÷hlins fork
Rear suspension Dual-side aluminium swingarm,
with Ohlins shock absorber
Brakes: Make Brembo
Front two 305mm / or 290mm / vented floating discs
Rear one 218mm ÿ vented floating disc
Fluid Shell Advance
Make Michelin
Front 12/60-420 (16.5î)
Rear 19/67-420 (16.5î)
Overall dimensions
Length 2060mm
Width 678mm
Dry weight 164kg, with oil and water
Wheelbase 1440mm
Fuel tank capacity 23.9 l