This Ducati 996R is a thrilling millennium-era road bike, presented in wonderful condition following cosmetic and mechanical refurbishment. It is powered by the 998cc Testastretta V-twin Desmoquattro engine, producing 134bhp, driven through a six-speed transmission. Thanks to extensive use of lightweight and composite components, its dry weight is just 185kg. The odometer shows 16,264 miles from new.
Ducati built just 500 examples of the 996R - ‘R’ for Racing - to meet homologation requirements for the World Superbike Championship. This is number 381, as confirmed by the plaque on top of the front suspension mount. The 996R was the debut of the Testastretta (‘narrow head’) engine with titanium con-rods, and also featured Öhlins front and rear suspension, carbon-fibre bodywork, and upgraded Brembo brakes.
First registered in March 2003, the bike has just one previous registered keeper on the V5C log book and has evidently been well maintained. The current owner is former Great Britain Olympic high jumper Ben Challenger, who has owned the 996R for five years. Having covered around 2,500 miles on the road, he now feels it has become too rare and collectable to use regularly and is offering it to another Ducati enthusiast to enjoy as they wish.
Its carbon-fibre bodywork remains in superb order, finished in the original red and white livery. There are a few spots of lacquer peel on some of the carbon trim, but it presents very well indeed. The bike’s chassis has been fully refurbished, and the engine components have been refinished to bring them back to showroom condition.
The rear lights have been swapped to clear lens items, and the front indicators are currently removed from the bike for cosmetic reasons. However, all of the original factory parts remain with the bike and are included in the sale. It sits on five-spoke Marchesini alloy wheels, in size 3.50 x 17 at the front and 5.50 x 17 at the rear, which are in great shape.
All of the switchgear works perfectly, and the bike retains the original grips and has a ‘double bubble’ windscreen fitted. Each of the instrument dials reads clearly and functions as it should. The suede-trimmed seat is in superb condition, accented by red double stitching.
Its last scheduled maintenance was in November 2019, carried out at superbike specialist Dave Wood Racing in Buckinghamshire. This consisted of a full service as well as renewal of the timing belts. Over the last few years, the engine has been fully rebuilt, and other mechanical components either refurbished or replaced as needed. No expense has been spared to make sure it is running and riding perfectly.
It is currently fitted with the originally supplied Termignoni race exhaust with carbon-fibre silencers, along with the factory race ECU. A remap of the latter has included decreasing maximum revs by 500 rpm to help keep the rebuilt engine in fine fettle. The original supplied parts, including the stock exhaust and road ECU, are also included in the sale. When not in use, the bike is kept in a heated garage and connected to a trickle charger on its paddock stand.
The most recent MOT test was on 11 December 2019 at 16,264 miles, which resulted in a clean pass with no advisories whatsoever. The wheels are shod in Michelin Pilot Power 3 tyres in size 120/70 ZR17 at the front and 190/55 ZR17 at the rear. The tyres remain in nearly as-new condition, and have not yet been fully scrubbed in.
Accompanying the bike is all of the original paperwork and literature, including the owner’s manual and service book. The factory-supplied paddock stand is also present, along with a bike cover.
This Ducati 996R is an excellent example of a limited-edition homologation special, which is a bona fide racing bike for the road. Many of these collectable Ducatis are stored with very low mileage, and ultimately need total recommissioning before riding on the road. However, this particular 996R has been exercised regularly, and benefits from the recent and extensive programme of refurbishment and restoration, meaning it presents and drives superbly.