Out of the experiences gained in MotoGP, comes a new 90° V4 engine designed to power the Ducati Supersport models of tomorrow. MotoGP technology for the road?
Called the Desmosedici Stradale, this engine is set to become yet another Ducati milestone: it will be the first time that the Bologna-based motorcycle manufacturer has equipped a standard production bike with a 4-cylinder engine.
The official unveiling took place in Misano during the San Marino and Rimini Riviera GP, the thirteenth round of the 2017 MotoGP championship.
A natural setting for the presentation, as MotoGP is the proving ground from which the new engine has drawn experience, technology and grit.
“It’s with undiluted pride that we unveil this technological gem. It represents the start of a new chapter for our company, underlining our vitality and an unshakeable commitment to investment in new products”, stated Claudio Domenicali, Ducati CEO, during the presentation of the Desmosedici Stradale.
“This engine also highlights the close collaboration between Ducati Corse and the factory bike development team, proving just how instrumental racing can be in developing the technology that is then applied to production bikes. In November, at EICMA, we’ll be showcasing the new Panigale V4, an all-new motorcycle powered by this extraordinary engine”.
While the Desmosedici Stradale engine is undoubtedly suited to the track, it has also been designed to respond to the needs of the road rider.
For example, to maximise mid-range torque – essential for a satisfying road experience – and ensure punchy torque and power at lower revs, the engine has a slightly larger displacement than its MotoGP counterpart (1103 cm³, to be precise).
Power output from the Euro 4 compliant engine configuration exceeds 155 kW (210 hp) at 13,000 rpm while maximum torque exceeds 120 Nm (12.2 Kgm) from 8,750 to 12,250 rpm.
An R version with a displacement of less than 1000 cc – which revs higher and is intended more for track use – is currently at the advanced development stage.
This motorcycle will provide the foundation for the homologated version that competes in the Superbike championship, where this engine will be used starting in 2019 (one year on from the launch of the respective road version, as per the Ducati tradition).
As on the Ducati bikes used in racing, the crankshaft is of the counter-rotating type. This kind of crank reduces the overall gyroscopic effect and makes the bike faster and agile when changing direction.
The crank pins, offset at 70° as on the Desmosedici GP, involve a Twin Pulse firing sequence that generates easy-to-handle power delivery and optimises out-of-the-corner traction (“Big Bang” effect). This firing sequence also gives the Desmosedici Stradale a unique signature sound.
A 90° V4 configuration makes the engine extremely compact, allowing centralisation of mass and smoothing incorporation on the vehicle.
The Desmosedici Stradale has been fitted into the motorcycle with the front cylinders banked 42° back from the horizontal, just like the Ducati engines employed in MotoGP. Installing the motor in this way optimises weight distribution, allows the adoption of larger radiators and brings the swingarm pivot point forwards.
Its architecture also evens up first order forces naturally without the added weight and power loss that a balancing countershaft would involve.
As in MotoGP, the engine has been designed with an 81 mm cylinder bore. This measurement reflects the maximum limit allowed by MotoGP rules; it’s also the highest in the 4-cylinder supersport segment.
Using the same bore as the Desmosedici GP engine means both power units share nearly identical in-engine fluid dynamics (i.e. on the valves, the intake ducts and the throttle bodies).
The new engine features the Desmodromic system, an essential characteristic that helps make Ducati prototypes the fastest in MotoGP. The “Desmo” system achieves a degree of sophistication, lightness and compactness never before seen on a Ducati.
Variable-height air intake horns constitute another first for a Ducati factory bike, optimising cylinder intake across the rev range and giving significant advantages regarding power delivery and handling.
Completing the fuelling system are the oval throttle bodies, each equipped with two injectors: one above the butterfly and one below it.
This package of cutting-edge technical solutions – unique within the Supersport segment – makes the Desmosedici Stradale an engine like no other in the motorcycle world.
I suspect, that when the engine is fitted to in R-spec to the new Superbike, Ducati will dominate the Superbike class across the world once again.
That is until Aprilia joins the party with its latest V4 offering!
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07-09-2017