Driving report Ducati 996 R

gingerbread

That’s exactly how everyone likes it: a delicious piece of cream with lots of pepper in it. Ducati 996 R, the hottest chapter so far in the Desmoquattro book.

Everything sounds very familiar. A little louder because of the open Termignoni silencers, but familiar, like Ducati-Desmo-Twin.

Actually a rather banal noise: the stringing together of explosions in time with a 90-degree V2. So to speak, a regular irregularity in the ignition interval from 270 to 450 degrees, boom, boom, boom. But somehow Ducati manage to transform this sound pressure, born as noise, into a sound that many perceive as more harmonious than any symphony and more impressive than the rumble of thunder. For one or the other, the sound should even have an erotic effect.
The completely renewed Testa Stretta engine of the brand new Ducati top model 996 R seamlessly connects. And it’s even worth letting it cheer to new heights, because unlike the normal 996, for example, it fills its rev range up to the limit at 10700 rpm with nice, fat performance. Which was allowed to be read out loud at the presentation at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain. Because the aforementioned racing mufflers are included in the scope of delivery and you are on the racetrack. And there you want to experience the performance of the new gem in full bloom.
In fact, the open version of the 996 R, which is seven kilograms thin compared to the SPS, is not only breathtakingly strong, but also breathtakingly fast. 265 km / h are on the clock at the end of the start-finish straight before reason turns one’s gaze into the braking zone. Given the speedometer deviation of normal 996, that should be over 250 real km / h. And that’s damn quick, considering the short run-up and the author’s not exactly streamlined dimensions. It helps that the 996 R sweeps through the wind more smoothly than its sisters, whose drag coefficient it falls below five percent with the CFRP cladding closed. The hot exhaust air finds its way out of the engine compartment behind tea driver‘s legs.
Even from low revs the Duc moves so vehemently that many gear changes are superfluous. The hard braking at the end of the start-finish straight, for example, initially tempts you to downshift three gears in order to escape the fast left-hand bend with a good connection. It is faster if you only downshift twice, because on the one hand this saves two gearshifts, on the other hand there is more than enough punch available to catapult the 996 R towards the next bend. It is also revealing to try to lap the route in sixth gear. The Duc accelerates with vehemence even from the tightest corners, where perhaps 3000 rpm are still present. And at the end of the home straight the speedometer still reports 230 km / h, after an acceleration distance of perhaps 600 meters and an input speed of around 4500 / min. Splendid. Power in all situations, available over a wide speed range.
The long development on the new engine with its shorter stroke and its correspondingly higher piston area and, above all, its differently designed heads (see also MOTORRAD 1/2001) has paid off. According to Ducati, 135 of the open 141 maximal horses remain in series condition with quiet ABE silencers. However, the somewhat rough throttle response should then be tamed when transitioning from pushing to load operation. This is also due to the much lighter and much smaller, but much more powerful central computer, which processes a large amount of data in the control of ignition and injection (each with a remote nozzle in the inlet ducts with a throttle valve diameter of 54 millimeters) and accordingly contributes to the good performance of the Motor does ?? and is now placed behind the gel battery to save cables, where it thankfully leaves space for oil.
A drive that dominates the appearance of the 996 R in harmony with the closely spaced SPS gearbox. But of course the R has more to offer. For example this well-known and so good chassis. Of course, the Superbike base cushions and cushions with wonderful Öhlins spring elements, which not only have the right set-up for every taste and driving style, but also respond Great-sensitively with all the firmness and thus get maximum grip from the tires at all times. In this case, the Michelin Pilot Sport, which are excellent in themselves, are probably the weakest link in the chassis chain, because their liability reserves were sufficient for extremely respectable lap times, but by no means to embarrass a chassis like the 996 R. It is all the more remarkable that moments of shock, such as those caused by street sports tires on the racetrack, were completely eliminated thanks to the Ducati’s qualities.
In a super-fast left-hand curve aiming downhill over a knoll, for example, the grip limit of the rear tire was so gently palpable that it could be comfortably balanced along it with the throttle grip. In this way, this package of engine and chassis opens up the unknown world of black lines even to normal sports drivers. The same applies to late braking: the Brembo brake system, with four individual pads per caliper, has already proven its performance, which is suspicious of reference, on the new Aprilia RSV mille. And they also slow down the 996 R gently in the beginning with low hand force, then increasing absolutely evenly. A braking system worthy of a top racing car like the 996 R. Only the front tires (in a more dimensionally stable D special specification) should always contain enough air to provide sufficient stability against the enormous mix of fork and braking potential.
On the subject of stability: the R also remains true to the well-known Ducati imperturbability, although it has been optimized in terms of gyroscopic inertia using lightweight SPS wheels and brake discs. So it’s not one of the miracles of handiness, but shines with unparalleled stability in an inclined position, which makes course corrections difficult here and there. This is how the 996 are: they want to be driven smoothly and precisely, then reward their pilot with fantastic performance.
B.just have to wait and see the more affordable series offshoots, because the R is not exactly a special offer at 26,200 euros, and the limited number of 500 units is already sold out ?? at least to the dealers, where suffering covets might still find one or the other copy. It is definitely desirable, as it combines the glory of the chassis and controllable power output of a sporty twin with the brute performance of a big bike. And that’s what we’ve all been waiting for, haven’t we?

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