For those who loved the Ducati 916, Pierre Terblanche committed the biggest crime ever – he designed the 999. While the Massimo Tamburini-designed 916 was all svelte and gorgeous, its replacement, the 999, was slab sided and clunky. The 999 had better ergonomics and worked better than the 916/996/998 on the road and on the track, but for Ducati fans, it was like Terblanche had desecrated one of their gods.
Here at Faster and Faster, we don’t think the 999 was all that bad. In fact, we believe the 999 was more of a brave, confident step ahead from the 916, than the 1098 is from the 999. Cycle World magazine interviewed Terblanche recently, and here is what the man himself had to say on the 916 vs 999 controversy: “I thought that the 916 series needed to move on. The original 916 was a beautiful bike, but it had a lot of issues that owners and journalists alike remarked on and complained about. These were mainly practical issues regarding using the bike on the road under real-world conditions. The 999 fixed a lot of the issues; it was a direct response to the complaints about the 916/996/998.”
But then he relents a bit and adds, “Maybe I was too rational; maybe people liked those flaws. The intention had been to give people an exciting bike which also works well under real-world riding conditions. I now know that I went too far on the styling for the average biker, but as you well know it’s always easier to play Monday-morning quarterback. It is all so easy to discuss now but, hey, you win some and you lose some, and it’s all water under the bridge now.”
Indeed, it is. In the meanwhile, get the full interview at the Cycle World website here. And visit the Motoblog site here for a whole new perspective on the 999!!
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