Soup –//– Soup test DUCATI 998

9 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Soup –//– Soup test DUCATI 998
Ducati 998

Layout by Mark Lesselyoung

Imagine the confidence – or daring – of Ducati North America. The importer decided to introduce the new 998 Ducati flagship at Buttonwillow, California, a track with the shimmering ambience of a desert parking lot. The 998 would have to dazzle the U.S. and Canadian press without the help from glamorous surroundings. Buttonwilllow, better suited to launch something powered by solid-fuel, has nothing in common with the rich atmospheres of the great racetracks like Monza and Misano.

So Circuit Primitivo Buttonwillow may have shocked and somewhat embarrassed the official entourage from Ducati Motor SPA, a group that included factory engineers, technicians, and Ducati’s new Public Relations Manager, Ms. Myrianne Gaeta. Not to worry, the 998 overcame all.

At first glance, with its bodywork in place, the 998 appears to be a 996 with a one-digit difference. Just standing there looking at the 998, a satisfied 996 owner might well be unmoved and register no changes in his vital signs. until his first ride. Then the 998 will electrify him, his vital signs will soar, and later his 996 will feel a little empty, as if something were missing.

The 998 is evolutionary . but it developed from a clean ream of drafting paper. There are a few carryovers, but not much: connecting rods, dry clutch, and a few transmission gears. Otherwise the whole engine has been totally redesigned.

Ducati engineers call the 998 V-twin the Testa Stretta which means, compact head. With such changes in a model year one might expect equally significant changes with the chassis of the 998. However given Ducati’s recent successes in the world championship, the current design was more than capable to handle the increase in 998/999 horsepower.

The heads are quite different from the 996’s . Both intake and exhaust tracks have been reconfigured using much steeper, more vertical angles into the combustion chamber. The included valve angle between intake and exhaust valves has been dramatically reduced, thus making way for larger valves. But the narrower valve angle reduces the room for the desmo system, so the closing rocker mechanisms were relocated outside the cavity between the camshafts.

Ducati 998

The journals that locate the closing rocker pivot pins now reside outboard of the camshafts. Meanwhile, the intake rocker system has been moved closer to the centerline of the cylinder head. To further reduce reciprocating weight and increase longevity, newly designed rocker arms are lighter and have received thicker, more improved chrome surfaces.

The tub or channel housing each spark plug have been replaced with steel, while the spark plug diameter has been reduced from twelve to ten millimeters. These modifications allow for the additional space needed in accommodation of the larger valves. The addition of steel in the center section of the head also serves to strengthen the area immediately surrounding the pin journals of the rocker arms.

Gone are the roller bearings supporting the camshafts, which have been replaced with a simple retainer and plain bearing design. Ducati engineer Gennaro Cugnetto notes that you would not find roller bearings supporting F1 camshafts, adding, This is only another part to fail. Both the intake and exhaust valves have grown considerably. Intake valve diameter has increased from 36 to 40 millimeters. Exhaust valves grew three millimeters, from 30 to 33.

These are not small increases and these changes would have been impossible within the confines of the previous 40-degree (20/20 included angle) 996 cylinder head design. The narrower included valve angle in the 998 of 25 degrees (intake valve 12 degrees/exhaust 13 degrees) combined with the fitment of the smaller diameter spark plug made everything more compact and therefore possible. Can we say breathe?

Ducati 998
Ducati 998
Ducati 998

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