Ducati 999 & the Ducatista Roberto Agnese.


Mono Motorcycles always like variety in the workshop & therefore long term projects are always welcome. When we are waiting for parts, or when there is transition time between bookings; it keeps the mono momentum. Over the past year we seem to have seen our ‘project’ motorcycles often take the form of a Ducati.

Last winter we had the beautiful Ducati 916 Senna for Mark Linley which we fully restored. Off the back of completing the 916 Senna last February, we were introduced to Roberto & his Ducati 999. Roberto had also been at the fate of the same mechanic! who had stolen Mark’s 916 Senna (please click here for the full Ducati Senna story).

Roberto had sadly lost his front calipers to the same charlatan & when Mark’s motorcycle was recovered from the compound, Mark found Roberto’s calipers in a box with his parts. Therefore,  through no fault of his own, Roberto’s 999 Ducati had been off the road for three years.

The original instructions were to try and get Roberto’s Ducati 999 running & tidy up the wiring loom, which was in a sorry state.

Roberto had also converted the twin sided swing arm to a 916 Ducati single sided swing arm complete with 848 wheels. This in itself posed its challenges as the rear shock from the 999 had been used causing the back of the Ducati to be 400mm higher than standard. Removing the shock & placing it alongside a 916 shock revealed another issue. The Ducati 999 shock was 15mm longer, with the effect of the linkage that brought up the seat height by 400mm. The other issue was the pick up for the speedo was in the wrong place, therefore the speedo was reading 120mph when you were doing about 40! This was over come by fitting a Ducati Multistrada wheel speed bracket getting it closer to the correct value.

Roberto also wanted a different exhaust system with two very short cans. The system was sent to Phil Smith at Storm Performance Exhausts. Phil’s work is amazing and his exhausts are used in Superbikes.

The wiring  loom was in a very poor state & we must have removed 5 metres of wire which was not needed. Once we got the Ducati running, it was taken for a run. This test ride revealed a few more teething problems, namely coolant & oil leaks. Hence the decision was to move it down to our workshop to complete the work.

Once we collected the Ducati,  Roberto had “added to the list” Grip pro traction control system: Datatool digi gear indicator, shift lights, HealTech quick shifter & HealTech speedo healer.

Although the gear shift indicator is one of the smallest parts, it was the most challenging to fit. The Ducati 999 runs a can-bus network. This is a digital signal rather than an analogue pulse. The Datatool Digi-gear needs to see wheel speed & RPM to work out what gear the bike is in. Normally this would be taken from the rear of the speedo but both come from the ECU to the dash via the low speed Can-bus network. Therefore, this meant we had to go to the sensor side of the ECU to collect the signals in there analogue state, meaning more wiring! Bringing the switching wire up to the dash area also meant we could wire in the LED shift lights. With this done we could move onto the HealTech quickshifter & speedo healer. Both of these are pretty much plug & play, although as always there’s masses too much wire.

On to the Grip-pro traction control.

This is the first aftermarket traction control we’ve fitted to a Ducati & seeing just how good the traction control on the Triumph 765 RS is, we were still a little dubious on how good this fairly basic system can be! The system works by two wheel speed sensors, one fitted to each wheel with a small ECU. This in turn cuts the fuel to the front sensor if it detects wheel spin.

The main issue we had is they don’t make a kit for the Ducati 999, as the front forks don’t have the regular pinch bolts on the front like most Japanese motorcycles. In the end we made a bespoke bracket to hang from the front mud guard fixing. We are also puzzled why they made the cables grey?! They stand out far too much & would have made more sense in black.

Roberto also had some carbon air tubes he wanted fitting. Straight swap? Oh no! The original air tube on the right has the header bottle attached to it. We searched the internet for an alternative, but couldn’t find anything that would fit. Nothing for it we had to make something. We found a red alloy drink bottle on eBay, drilled a hole & fitted a 6mm union on the bottom & there you have it; a home made or should I say ‘mono made’ header tank!

We spoke to Sicilian born Roberto Agnese to find out what it is about the Ducati brand which has captivated him. This is what he had to say.

“My First Ducati was the 900ss – 1996. I have sentiment to the brand due to its Italian origin & I have never ridden any other bike in my life. The look of Ducati’s is always very extraordinary with the slim body shape & the sound which  is very unique. The brand has always been associated with motorsport with a lot of success & trophies. There are a lot of extra activities around the brand with many events around the globe & every owner feels like a part of a Ducatisti family. My dream Ducati would be the 1299 Superleggera as this is the most advance, powerful & sophisticated V2 Ducati. Also the last one in a super bike family with a 2 cylinder engine ( apart from a Final Edition variation of the same bike ). Next in raw will be probably the Panigale V4 but I have had no chance to “touch” it yet. I’m also a big fan of a custom make Ducati’s which I’m sure Daniel Morris of mono motorcycles & vehicle security is a part of.”

If you have a project you would like to see come to life, or if you have a half finished project which you just don’t seem to have the time to complete; mono motorcycles & vehicle security would be more than happy to help. Please do contact Daniel Morris – Master Technician on 07899 654446 or contact us through our contact page.

Category: Case Studies