How Many Cylinders is Too Many?

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
From www.ducati.com comes this amuzing take on the four-stroke GP scene. Specifically, they've got a rather entertaining look at the various displacements possible in the new series. We didn't know Ducati had such a sense of humor, actually...

In one week from now - 4th February 2002 - Ducati Corse will release details of the new Ducati engine being developed for MotoGP. It comes after endless speculation as to what the Bologna designers have chosen the final configuration to be. Given that Ducati are so famous for the world beating L-shaped twin that we all love so much, the possibility of considering a new configuration is too exciting to contemplate! Ducati.com/racing look at the alternatives open to the design team...

The following is from Ducati's web site:


ONE cylinder? Unlikely we know, but Ducati have always chosen to use fewer cylinders than other manufacturers, haven't they? Claudio Domenicali originally directed the Supermono project and maybe, just maybe, all these years later he has something special up his Supermono sleeve. Vibration could be a problem with 990cc single, however, and riders would need to put on a few kilos if they wanted to bump start it!

TWO cylinders? Now you're talking. With 10 SBK Manufacturers titles and 9 Riders titles achieved with this fantastic engine, why would you want to change things? The SBK team has virtually equaled the 500GP lap times at some circuits already so why not just knock off a few kilos from the 998R Testastretta? Too easy??

THREE cylinders? Already the chosen direction of Aprilia, the three cylinder option looks like it could be a viable proposition but hang on, actually, Ducati already built a three cylinder engine back in 1971. Would the designers ever do another across the frame triple?

FOUR cylinders? Mmmmm, you never know. Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki have gone this direction for their MotoGP entry but it would represent a completely new design for Ducati. Or would it? Actually, Ducati produced the Apollo back in the 60's. Ducati could blow the dust off of that design or put two 998Rs side-by-side. The opposition might have a serious sense-of-humour failure if we measure in at 1996cc!

FIVE cylinders? Honda have done it already, enough said really. Looks fast. Sounds kind of strange though. Bit like a family Audi taking a drive in a soundproof cell and, well, how can we put it?? Here at Ducati we're kind of fussy about how our bikes sound and believe us, we want you to hear this one!

SIX cylinders? Honda did it back in the 60's with the 250 - which means that somebody back then had a good sense of humour when it came to design! On the computer we've joined two of the Ducati triples from the 70's but it would end up being awfully fat. Sorry, "horizontally challenged." We can just hear our riders now: "Corrado, does this MotoGP bike make me look fat?"

EIGHT cylinders? Eight. Yes, it could be eight. Where exactly would you put eight cylinders though? Have you seen how much room is left on the 998R when they've finished with all the plumbing and electronics? You have? So now try and fit six more cylinders in there. Get real!

TEN Cylinders? Ok, don't get real... If Ducati is set to become the Ferrari of the MotoGP world, there just might be a ten on the computer at the Borgo Panigale factory! Well, red is the Ducati color as well, and Schumacher and Bayliss have something else in common: they both race for Italian factories but neither speaks Italian!

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Brent Avis
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