The Ducati 999 superseded the Massimo Tamburini designed Ducati 916, Ducati 996 and Ducati 998 range of superbikes in 2003, and was produced through 2006. This motorcycle enjoyed great success in World Superbike, and was raced in the series through the 2007 season, despite no longer being produced, pending rules changes by the series' governing body, FIM, to allow competition of the new Ducati 1098.
The 999 was designed by Pierre Terblanche, amid much controversy over its divisive styling; it was heavily criticized by some, whilst being hailed by many. It is known as an extremely high performance, race oriented motorcycle. With its traditional Ducati L Twin Desmodromic Valve actuated engine layout, it has a linear power delivery, with high power figures available even at low RPM figures, and, of course, extremely high torque levels. Additionally, with its high spec suspension componentry, rigid yet communicative trellis chassis and weight distribution suited to communicative, sharp and accurate steering, it is one of the finest handling motorcycles for its time.
Subsequently, more powerful 999S and 999R (provided with 102 dB Termignoni race-spec exhaust) versions were introduced, both capable of 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in under three seconds; and a top speed of over 170 mph (+270 km/h).