Robin" takes a quick break for pictures while wringing out
the R05 on twisty Stunt Road.
First World Test!
does the Ducati 999R05
"Rockin' Robin" Cunningham
TV star, Miss Texas, Miss Hawaiian Tropic International, Miss
and Miss SBK World Superbike Fast Dates and Team Ducati Corse
1st - I had just gotten back from the Laguna Seca
World Superbike Weekend 2004 with photographer Jim Gianatsis
and the 2 other beautiful Fast Dates Calendar Angels Nicki
and Andra. It was an incredible weekend in Monterey shooting
for the next Calendar with all the top factory World Superbikes
and riders, partying on Cannery Row on Saturday night with
all the race fans, and then on Sunday serving as the official
Ducati Corse umbrella girl for Ducati's Championship points
leader Regis Laconi.
on the start grid with all the bikes and riders on Sunday,
I couldn't help but imagine what it might be like to be
exploding down the front straight on Regis' factory 999F04
and tilting it over the blind crest of Turn One, grabbing
the Brembos and blipping it down 3 gears as I dove into
Turn Two with the rest of the pack on my ass. Awsome!
for the BIG Picture. Here i am on the starting grid at Laguna
Seca World Superbike with Regis Laconi and Ducati Corse
marketing manager Paolo Ciabatti.
I'm the one in the short skit with my butt hanging out!
A girl can
dream, can't she? Well, 3 weeks later the dream almost came true
as FastDates.com got its hands on one of the first production
Ducati 999R 2005 Superbikes in America. This is the latest incarnation
of the limited production run of 500 very special bikes to homologate
(Barely Legal!) the factory 999F Superbikes for FIM sanctioned
World and National Championship superbike racing. Out of the required
500 bike production run of the new 999R 05s this year, 300 of
them are making the trip to America, giving us a a good indeciation
of what percentage of Ducati's total production does go to America
(60%) compared to the rest of the universe, and where their biggest
market is. Ducati says it wants to keep its options open to build
more than 500 of the 999R05 bikes if the demand is high enough,
but with the required production lead times don't expect to see
many more any time soon
The 05 designation
after the 999R means this is a 2005 year model bike, even though
for AMA racing purposes it homologates Eric Bostrom's factory
999F which was racing in the 2004 season. The bikes needed to
be built by July 1st to be homologated, which they were, and we
actually saw our 999R rolling off the production line back in
May when we visited the Bologna factory during World Ducati Week.
It was during
our incredible visit to the Ducati factory and World Ducati Week
back in May and seeing the new 2005 model R rolling off the production
line that we noticed its main visual changes from the previous
year's 999R04 model. Those changes including the new Ohlins front
forks with radial mounted Brembo brakes,and the stamped sheet
aluminum rear swingarm which is 1-pound lighter, stronger, and
a whole lot better looking than the stock cast aluminum arm found
on the other 999 models. But these 2 new suspension components
had been introduced 4 months earlier on the then new 749R04 model,
so it was expected they'ld find their way on the next production
run of 999Rs which we were now seeing.
What we also
see here which is exclusive to the 999R05 is the slightly changed
trellis frame now painted red to match the factory 999F04 works
bikes. And the beautiful new front fairing which eliminates the
2 upper vent slots for "improve aerodynamics", which
are still found on the other production Superbike models. If you
remember our own FastDates.com
999S Project Bike from last year we had our vented front fairing
with a non vented carbon race fairing that looked just like this.
We'd like to think Ducati of Italy saw how great it looked on
our Project bike and decided to makes the production change as
a result. The new front fairing's windscreen is slighty taller
as well for improved rider protection and aerodynamics.
in case you're looking to update your 999 vented front fairing
with the new 999R05 carbon fiber front fairing and windscreen,
don't bother, because it won't fit. The new fairing is slightly
wider as well, uses a different screw mount pattern for the new
windscreen, and employs slightly wider carbon fiber upper support
arms. We know because we tried to install the carbon fibre front
fairing from our 999S Project Bike and it wouldn't line up easily
and need would some redrilling.
We also noticed
the single layer carbon fiber fabric in our race front fairing
was significanly lighter than the higher quality double layer
and heavier carbon fiber cloth which is used on the 999R05. For
comparison, our race front fairing weighed just 10 ounces, while
the 999R05's weighed in a full one pound heavier at 1lb. 10 ozs.
And while somewhat too heavy for real race bodywork, the R's production
carbon fibre bodywork with its molded-in Red color is beautiful
and flawless, stone chip imprevious, and much more durable for
abounds with additional bolt-on carbon fibre parts like the front
fender, engine cam belt covers, sprocket and chain guard, and
airbox tunnels. As well as as some tasty gold anodized magnesium
parts like the
headlight and front fairing mount module, and the engine valve
covers. Together with the rear swinarm, the 999R05 tips the scales
at a factory claimed 399lbs / 181kgs, which is some 40lbs / 18kgs
lighter than its more pedestrain 999 / 999S sisters.
What we couldn't
know about on the new 999R05's we saw at the Ducati factory back
in May were the changes inside the limited production sand cast
engine, and our pretty young tour guide wasn't about to tell us
before the World Press Launch in July (nor did she probably know).
The R model retains its special short stroke 999cc homologation
motor at bore / stroke of 104 x 58.9mm compared to 100 x 63.5
mm on the 999/999S models, allowing it to turn more RPMs and make
more power in race tune.
year's 999R04 model only made an advertised 3hp more at peak than
the current 999S, 139hp at 10,000rpm vs. 136hp at 9750rpm. And
if you remember on our 999S
Project Bike we bolted on the $3200 Ducai Performance 54mm
Termignoni full race exhaust system with CPU remap module which
Ducati claims provides an 8% additional power increase on the
999S up to 147hp, all within a lower rpm range. So effectily,
we had a hotter performing bike for about $26,200 (the 999S retails
for $23,000), which is almost $6,000 less that last year's $32,000
boys back at Bologna must have been reading all of our Project
Bike Story, because they made a major redesign to the 999R's engine
to give it the real performance boost it needed to justify its
lowered but still pricy $30,000 entry fee. The changes start at
the crankshaft which is redesigned to be stronger and lighter,
than moves upstairs by way of the normal titanium connecting rods,
to higher compression pistons, 12./45:1 up from 12.3:1. Those
pistons are under an all new head assembly with bigger valves,
now titanium with narrower stems, for a significant drop in recipriating
valve train weight. Those Ti valves are now controled by revised
rocker arms for increased lift, and hotter cams. And they're feed
by a redesigned Magneti Marelli Corse fuel injector nozzles with
12 spray holes for improved atomization and better mixture burn.
The result is an incredible jump in power / torque on the new
999R05 up to 150hpat 9750rpm / 116.7 Nm at 8,000. It's significant
jump in power and torue at a slightler lower rpm, making the new
R model even more tractable and easier to ride.
downside to this new jump in performance by 11hp and decrease
in price by $2,000 is the new 999R05 is now delivered with the
999S model's stock street legal Euro 2 compliant asymmetrical
exhaust system featuring different length and diameter header
pipes from each cylinder, feeding into a massive 25lb. steel bodied
catalytic converter / muffler assembly. It is extradorniary that
Ducati can make the bike produce e so much power and feel so light
with such smaller front header pipes and that 25lb boat anchor
muffler hanging off the back!
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