Just as Ducati wraps up testing at Valencia this week, with WSB champion Troy Bayliss lapping under the track record (including times set by 500 GP machines), rumors are surfacing that the 2002 version of the 998 Ducati Superbike engine is taking horsepower and torque levels for WSB machines to a new level.
How powerful is this machine? Perhaps, in the neighborhood of 190 horsepower at the rear wheel, according to rumors circulating. Ducati factory rider Ben Bostrom, and his teammates, will only smile and make simple comments like "It's fast", but the machine will reportedly turn a reliable 15000 rpm. This is unheard of for a 998cc, V-twin superbike engine.
If you thought the four-cylinder machines had a hard time in WSB racing this year, wait until next year.
...I'll buy one. If they are up to 190 hp and 15000 rpm from a V-twin in a Superbike, I hope they had to make a few (but substantial) changes to the engine architecture, which, if we are all lucky, means that they have to re-homoligate it. Subtract 60+ hp in unobtanium parts nets you 130 from a twin...not bad. But not really big news either. And I didn't see anything from Milan or Paris, though the rumors were thick, about any real replacement (GP) version of the top Duc.
Ducati could impress me a hell of a lot more (and maybe convince me to pry loose the wallet) if they gave out 110 hp that could go more than 5000 kms without doing major work on the bike.
Er, yeah...go Ben!
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