News 8 Sep 2017

Ducati unveils MotoGP-inspired Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine

All-new superbike motor confirmed on eve of Misano grand prix.

Source: Supplied.

Ducati has unveiled its all-new MotoGP-inspired Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine at the 13th round of the MotoGP World Championship in Misano, Italy.

Out of the experience gained in MotoGP where the four-cylinder Desmosedici unleashes incomparable performance, comes a new 90-degree V4 engine designed to power the Ducati superbike models of tomorrow.

In transferring the technology of its most cutting-edge power unit from racetrack to road, Ducati offers customers performance levels honed by years of MotoGP experience.

Called the Desmosedici Stradale, the engine is set to become yet another Ducati milestone – it will be the first time ever that the Bologna-based motorcycle manufacturer has equipped a standard production bike with a four-cylinder powerplant.

Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali spoke of the advanced engine, stating it’s a beginning of a new chapter for the Italian manufacturer.

“It’s with undiluted pride that we unveil this technological gem,” said Domenicali. “It represents the start of a new chapter for our company, underlining our vitality and an unshakeable commitment to investment in new products.

“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 later applied on 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.

Power output from the Euro 4 compliant engine configuration exceeds 155kW (210hp) at 13,000rpm, while maximum torque exceeds 120Nm (12.2 Kgm) from 8750-12,250rpm.

An R version with a displacement of less than 1000cc – which revs higher and is intended more for track use – is currently at the advanced development stage. This will provide the foundation for the homologated version that competes in the Superbike championship, where this engine will be used starting in 2019.

As on the Ducati bikes used in racing, the crankshaft is of the counter-rotating type. This reduces the overall gyroscopic effect and makes the bike faster and more agile when changing direction.

The crank pins, offset at 70 degrees 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. This firing sequence also gives the Desmosedici Stradale a unique signature sound.

A 90-degree V4 configuration makes the engine extremely compact, allowing centralisation of mass and smoothing incorporation on the vehicle. The Desmosedici Stradale has in fact been inserted on the motorcycle with the front cylinders banked 42 degress back from the horizontal, just like the Ducati engines employed in MotoGP.

This, of course, 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 was designed with an 81mm cylinder bore. This measurement reflects the maximum limit allowed by MotoGP rules – it’s also the highest in the four-cylinder supersport segment. Using the same bore as the Desmosedici GP engine means both power units share nearly identical in-engine fluid dynamics.

The new engine is designed around the Desmodromic system, a key characteristic that helps make Ducati prototypes the fastest in MotoGP. On this high-revving engine 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 in terms of 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 – absolutely unique within the supersport segment – makes the Desmosedici Stradale an engine like no other in the motorcycle world.