Today details surrounding the Ducati Superquadro superbike engine are finally being released. Horsepower is 195 at 10,750rpm, valve adjustments come at 15,000 miles instead of 7,500, timing belts are replaced with chains and gears and a wet slipper clutch replaces the clattering dry unit of past Ducati Superbikes. Welcome to the future.
Update: Now with English sub-titled video
The motor is a ground-up redesign, sharing nothing with past Ducati engines and it uses massive 112mm (up from 106) pistons. Those pistons make possible 46.8mm intake valves (up from 43.5) and 38.2mm exhaust valves (up from 34.5). Stroke is reduced from 67.9 to 60.8mm. This big piston/short stroke design works well for Ducati. The short stroke reduces piston speeds and makes is possible for the big twin to spin as fast as it needs to without undue stress. Ultra-aggressive cams take a cue from the MX world and now sport auto-decompressors and are turned by chain, via idler gear (a lot like the system KTM uses). Desmodromic valve actuation is by new PLC coated followers makes it possible to snap those huge valves open and closed at high-rpm. Valve float, or at least more intense maintenance intervals, would be the result if this were attempted with ordinary springs and followers. Throttles bodies have also grown in size from 63.9mm to 67.5mm and they’re now controlled with stepper motors via the ecu. Ride by wire, especially when combined with a slipper clutch, provides the ability to fine-tune engine braking and feel during corner entry in ways that would never be possible with the old motor.
In addition to making things bigger, Ducati has changed from roller to plain bearings for the crankshaft and added an oil scavenge pump. “Removing the roller bearings has enabled an increase in diameter of the crank journals for enhanced rigidity and an increase the crankcase section around the main bearing area for improved strength in line with the Superquadro’s extreme power output. The shell bearings are force-fed oil from internal drillings within the main bearing pillars to keep the new crankshaft well lubricated and is quickly scavenged back into the sump with the introduction of a new Ducati feature, a highly efficient MotoGP-style vacuum pump.”
The cylinders have been tilted back an additional 6º for a total of 21º back from level. This allows the motor to be set 32mm forward which improves weight distribution, allows for a longer swingarm and puts the cylinder heads in the perfect place to support the vestigial frame. Look closely at the motor though and all you’ll see is engine cases and heads, the cylinder castings themselves having gone away in favor of Nikasil coated aluminum wet liners.
Some Ducatisti will bemoan the loss of belts and dry clutches, but for a superbike designed to win races, tradition is not important (look where it’s gotten harley). That Ducati was willing to piss a few people off to make it’s new superbike as fast as possible shows just how serious they are about the 1199 Panigale.
_4.41 in (112 mm) bore diameter
_Full and indipendent RbW system
_2.66 in (67.5mm) equivalent diameter oval throttle body
_Twin injectors for each throttle body
_Feeding and delivery gerotor oil pumps for vacuum effect
_Crankshaft on shell bearing for enhanced stiffness
_Nikasil coated aluminum wet liners
_Decompressor device on both cylinder heads
_Inlet titanium valves
_Magnesium sump cover, head covers and clutch covers
_Plastic gears (tecno polimeri) for oil and water drive
_Integrated design for engine & vehicle: the new Superquadro engine is a fully stressed member of the chassis
_Racing oriented pistons: double ribbed and RR58 alloy
_Secondary Air System
_New chain drive timing system
_Slipper and self-servo wet clutch
_New gearbox: increased dimension between shaft centers for increased strength
For comprehensive coverage, check out our Ducati 1199 tag page.