Ducati Announces 989 Cc V-Four MotoGP Bike

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Nine months after the start of the MotoGP project, announced last May atJerez de la Frontera, Ducati Corse has completed the design stage of itsnew engine, called Desmosedici (16-valve Desmo), which will begin testingon the dyno within the next three months.

Ducati Corse Managing Director Claudio Domenicali explained thedecision-making process behind the choice of the new engine: "After analysing all the possibilities offered by the regulations and onthe basis of computer simulations, we are convinced that a massive poweroutput is required to be competitive in MotoGP...

"It would have beendifficult to obtain this power with conventional twin-cylinder engines,which amongst other things are only given a 10 kg weight advantage over 4and 5 cylinder engines in the regulations. As a result, the bore sizewould have to be taken to an extremely high value, with the risk ofincurring serious combustion problems.

"For this reason, in the preliminary study phase, we considered atwin-cylinder oval piston engine to be an excellent layout for the newregulations. With the same weight as 4 and 5 cylinder engines, thislayout combines the typical advantages of a twin in terms of power outputand delivery, with the performance necessary to compete at the same levelas the multi-cylinder units.

"But further analysis led us to decide that the best solution was a"double twin" and therefore we designed an engine with four roundpistons which, thanks to a simultaneous two-by-two firing order,reproduce the working cycle of a twin. This will generate the "bigbang" effect, making the rear tire work in a way that extends itsduration and improves rider feeling when exiting curves.

The Desmosedici engine, continued Domenicali will have a relativelyshort development period and reasonable costs and it will then be easilyavailable also for external teams, since it is Ducati Corse's intentionto become a point of reference for private teams in MotoGP, as already itis in World Superbike."

The Desmosedici power-unit, designed to tolerate the greater stressgenerated by simultaneous combustion, is therefore a unique engine with afurther advantage: it allows two different versions to be tested. As wellas the Twinpulse, we will also be testing a layout with a traditionalfiring order, which will have a slightly higher power output, butprobably to the detriment of traction. Track testing and rider feelingwill decide which layout will be used for racing."

Another characteristic of the Desmosedici -- designed by a team headed byDucati Corse Technical Director Filippo Preziosi -- is that it uses adesmodromic valve timing system, an exclusive characteristic of allDucati engines for many years.

"Thanks to this project, we are able toverify the Desmo's true potential," declared Preziosi. "Experienceaccumulated with materials and calculation methods on the Testastrettahave allowed us to design an engine capable of exceeding 18,000 rpmwithout all the costs and complications involved in using pneumaticvalves."

The first tests on the dyno for the new engine are scheduled for May anda track testing program will get underway in July. The aim is to takepart in the 2003 MotoGP season from the first round with a factory teammade up of two riders.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONSENGINE: Four-stroke, four-cylinder -- (V90°, horizontal front cylinders)Bore: to be announcedStroke:to be announcedCapacity: 989ccExpected maximum crankshaft power: over 161 kW (220HP) @ 16000 rpmExpected maximum crankshaft torque: 100 Nm (10.2 kgm) @ 14000 rpmIMING SYSTEMDouble overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinderDesmodromic timing with gear trainCooling System: Liquid-cooledIGNITIONElectronic inductive discharge unitChampion spark-plugsMagneti Marelli stick-coilsFUEL SYSTEMIndirect electronic injectionMagneti Marelli4 x Magneti Marelli single-injector throttle bodiesEXHAUSTComplete Termignoni systemGEARBOXSix-speed, removable, front mesh
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