Ducati 996 SPS Pista – Pinnacle of a major Ducati lineage

Ducati 996 SPS Pista

With Ian Falloon

With the lengthy line of Ducati manufacturing unit Superbike racing V-twins now at an finish it’s price recalling the unimaginable success of some earlier engine designs, notably the Desmoquattro. Between 1990 and 2000 the 851, 888, 916, and 996 Desmoquattro received eight World Superbike Championships.

Their riders, headed by Doug Polen, Carl Fogarty and Troy Corser, received 163 World Superbike races, offering an astonishing profitable ratio of 52 per cent. There has by no means been another Ducati racing engine as profitable or dominant.

Ducati 996 SPS Pista
The Ducati 996 SPS Pista was obtainable with the Manufacturing facility decal equipment

The Desmoquattro grew out of the air-cooled two-valve 750 F1 in 1986 and represented an enormous technological step for Ducati. Introducing liquid-cooling, four-valve Desmodromic cylinder heads, and a completely mapped digital gasoline injection and ignition system, it was generations forward of earlier Ducatis. And Ducati instantly noticed a racing future for the brand new engine, primarily within the new World Superbike Championship that started in 1988.

As a low quantity producer Ducati was solely required to provide homologation fashions in small numbers, releasing restricted version 851 Sport Manufacturing homologation racers from 1989. They adopted this with the 888 SP and SPS in 1992 and the 916 SP in 1994. In 1997 they produced the 916 SPS to homologate new 996cc crankcases.

The 996 SPS Pista was the 2000 homologation model
The 996 SPS Pista was the 2000 homologation mannequin

Regardless of new homologated stronger crankcases with a wider cylinder stud sample Ducati didn’t win the 1997 World Superbike riders’ and constructors’ championships. This was the primary time they hadn’t received the constructors’ championship since 1990.

However the 996 made amends; Carl Fogarty profitable each the 1998 and 1999 World Superbike Championships on the manufacturing unit 996. Steve Martin additionally received the 1999 Australian Superbike Championship on a 996RS and Troy Bayliss the 1999 British Superbike Championship on the same machine.

Carl Fogarty won the 1999 World Superbike Championship
Carl Fogarty received the 1999 World Superbike Championship

By 2000 the Testastretta was about to supersede the Desmoquattro however as Ducati was nonetheless racing the Desmoquattro in World Superbike a collection of homologation specials was produced between 1998 and 2000.

Whereas the 916 SPS advanced into the 996 SPS, for particular homologation of sure elements Ducati supplied very small numbers what they referred to as the 916 SPS Fogarty Duplicate in 1998, and 996 SPS Manufacturing facility Duplicate in 1999. It bought very complicated as a result of the manufacturing unit by no means launched official brochures for these restricted version homologation fashions and so they have been by no means broadly obtainable.

What separated the 996 SPS from the usual 996 Strada was the engine and ignition system. The SPS retained the sooner Weber Marelli EFI with P8 processor and twin injectors per cylinders. With an 11.5:1 compression ratio, 98 mm pistons, wider stud cylinder heads with bigger valves (36 mm inlet and 30 mm exhaust) and titanium con-rods the engine produced 123 horsepower at 9,500 rpm.

Carl Fogarty's 1999 World Superbike Championship winning bike
Carl Fogarty’s 1999 World Superbike Championship profitable bike

The 996 SPS was up to date considerably for the 2000 Mannequin 12 months. Whereas the 996 cc Desmoquattro engine was unchanged, new suspension made it the best instance but of its style. The 43 mm Öhlins entrance fork now featured gold-coloured TiN coated fork legs and included some developments from the World Superbike racing program.

The 85mm steering lugs have been from the Ducati Corse 996, and together with new, stiffer, triple clamps, the axle mounting top was diminished from 110 to 80mm. This allowed for a rise within the extension of the stanchions to supply extra exact front-end management. The rear subframe was now constructed of aluminium tubing, utilizing the identical cross part because the Ducati Corse 996, and saving 0.5 kg.

The body and wheels have been “gun steel gray” this yr and the full weight 3kg lower than earlier than, at 187kg dry. The results of these developments maintained the place of the 996 SPS because the world’s premier sports activities bike. It might not have been the quickest superbike, however the suspension enhancements elevated the 996 SPS past that of even the newer technology Japanese and Italian machines. It was the purist proof of racing enhancing the breed.

Each Ducati 996 had a numbered plaque
Every Ducati 996 had a numbered plaque

Following requests for extra examples of the 996 SPS Manufacturing facility Duplicate, one other collection was produced for 2000. Initially this was to be often called the 996 SPS 3, nevertheless it was formally often called the 996 Manufacturing facility Duplicate 2, and was primarily for the homologation of recent components for the 996 Manufacturing facility 2000 World Superbike racer. When launched it was designated the “Pista”; Pista being Italian for circuit or monitor.

Aesthetically the SPS Pista was much like the 1999 996SPS/FR (Manufacturing facility Duplicate). A Ducati Infostrada Superbike workforce decal equipment was supplied along with distinctive tri-colour striping on the headlight fairing and seat. Every instance additionally got here with a restricted version numbered plaque affixed to the triple clamp.

Ohlins forks joined Marchesini wheels and Brembo brakes on the 996
Ohlins forks joined Marchesini wheels and Brembo brakes on the 996

At present the 996 SPS Pista signifies the top of one among Ducati’s most important lineages. Combining the best specification manufacturing model of the Desmoquattro with timeless 916 styling resulted in an distinctive motorbike. Whereas the following Testastretta was extra highly effective and refined, the Desmoquattro in SPS guise retained the brutishness and rawness that typified Ducatis of earlier eras.

As the full manufacturing of the 996 SPS Pista was solely 149 it was one of many rarer manufacturing Ducatis of the fashionable period. Australia acquired solely 15 examples and it arrived in late October 2000. This was after the discharge of the brand new 996R Testastretta for 2001. However because it was so uncommon the 996 SPS Pista has someway slipped beneath the radar of collectable fashionable Ducatis.

Ducati 996 SPS Pista
Styling of the Ducati 996 SPS Pista proved timeless

Ducati 996 SPS Pista Specs

Ducati 996 SPS Pista Specs
Engine Liquid-cooled four-stroke, 90-degree L-twin cylinder, DOHC, Desmodromic, four-valve per cylinder, 996 cc
Bore x Stroke 98 x 66 mm
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Max Energy 90.5 kW [123 hp] @ 9500 rpm
Max Torque 99 Nm @ 8000 rpm
Clutch Hydraulically activated dry clutch
Tranmission Six-speed gearbox
Body Tubular trestle body, higher of high-strength metal
Entrance Suspension 43 mm Ohlins fork, adjustable compression & rebound, 127 mm journey
Rear Suspension Ohlins monoshock, rising charge, adjustable compression & rebound
Brakes Twin 320 mm rotors, four-piston Brembo entrance calipers, single 220 mm rear rotor, two-piston Brembo caliper
Wheels Alloy, 3.50 x 17 in (F), 5.50 x 17 in (R)
Tyres 120/70-17 (F), 190/50-17 (R)
Rake 23.5-24.5 levels
L X W x H 2095 x 690 x 1090 mm
Wheelbase 1410 mm
Seat Peak 790 mm
Dry Weight 190 kg
High Pace 270 km/h (claimed)