Lot 340 - 1999 Ducati 996 SPS 'Pre-Production'
|Odometer reading||5 km|
|Estimate||£55,000 - £65,000|
|Result||Sold - £48,160|
The 1999 Ducati 996SPS is one of the celebrated line of homologation specials produced by Ducati with the sole intention of winning the World Superbike Championship, a feat they have managed seventeen times as manufacturer, whilst also winning fourteen rider's titles.
Since its inception in 1988, the World Superbike Championship required bikes to be series produced to be eligible with a minimum production run of 1,000 being obligatory. Ducati, however, on account of the company's small size when compared with the big four Japanese manufacturers, gained special dispensation to produce only 200 examples of their racing machines. This enabled Ducati to constantly update their homologation specials, establishing the legacy of spectacular V-twins that bore only a passing resemblance to the road bikes they were supposed to be closely related to. The first of these was the 1995 916SP which retained the road bike's 916cc capacity and is the only 'SP' or 'R' model that does not feature a numbered headstock badge. The 916SP was followed in 1996 by the 916SPS, (Sport Production Special) which was actually of 996cc, due to the bore being increased from 94mm to 98mm with the stroke remaining at 66mm. A new, lighter crankshaft came with titanium con rods; the crankcases and cylinder barrels were strengthened and bigger valves and larger bore exhaust system completed the list of changes.
1997 was a poor season for Ducati which led to the introduction of the 916 'Foggy Rep' for 1998 with a new frame to accommodate the modified airbox needed to release more power from the engine. The World Superbike title was returned to Bologna in 1998, to rider Carl Fogarty, who then won the rider's title a record fourth time the following year. The 1999 bike was called the 996, finally admitting its true engine capacity. The engine, the classic Ducati layout of a 90 degree V-twin, featured fuel injection, water cooling and four valves per cylinder, operated desmodromically like all classic Ducatis. Lighter and stronger than the 916SPS engine, the 996SPS has a power output in excess of 123bhp propelling it to a top speed of over 160mph. The transmission has six speeds and the tubular steel trellis chassis with adjustable steering head, uses a Showa upside-down front fork with an Ohlins adjustable monoshock at the rear, utilising a progressive cantilever linkage. Special five spoke wheels complete the package.
The 996SPS offered here is a pre-production bike, numbered 000 and was Ducati's show bike. It is effectively brand new and unused with only five kilometres recorded on the odometer, all of which have been at walking pace while being wheeled around in and out of shows. It has never been ridden. Owing to Euro Two regulations, the Ducati has been registered in Holland and has a NOVA certificate to permit an application for UK registration.
The homologation special Ducatis are tipped to be the Brough Superiors of the future. One was exhibited at The Guggenheim Museum in New York in recognition of its status as a work of art. The sale of this pre-production version represents a unique opportunity to acquire such an undoubted collector's item and what will surely be a sound investment.
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