Long ago when V-twin Superbikes made do with a mere liter, Ducati made a smashing revision to the 916 series. Like some other revolutions, it was voted down - but the monoposto 999R is the apex of the short-lived Tamburini design.
Ducati produced just 200 of the R-spec for homologation purposes, and while not quite race-prepared, they had the equipment that the WSBK team wanted to be able to use. For the 999R, that meant a slightly different engine with revised heads and a lot of titanium, resulting in 150 hp at a low 9,750 rpm, and a flat torque curve. Headstock angle is adjustable, as is the seat console position. Öhlins are found front and rear, fully adjustable with revised valving and nitride-treated fork legs. Clutches were "free" or unconstrained by the rule book, so the factory was not compelled to add a slipper clutch, though the big twin calls for one.
Looking very stock and showing just under 10,000 miles, this 999R is apparently in the care of a specialty dealer in Florida. Maybe not subject to the endless polishing and re-farkeling it would get at home, but very good shape with only one scrape, though how it got there without a lot of collateral damage is a mystery. From the eBay auction:
This motorcycle is in excellent condition, and has been cared for properly since day one. Starts runs and drives perfectly. 2005 was the first year of the deep sump 999R 150HP motor, and big swing arm. The previous year came with a weaker motor, and less robust swing arm. It also has the full carbon bodywork.
There are a few tiny scratches, and a small bit of road rash on the underside of the belly fairing, but overall it is in amazing condition.
The base 999 has a lot of awe-inspiring details, and the -R has them as well, but executed in carbon or forged alloy, and often adjustable. But turning some of these knobs requires some expert knowledge, besides open track time and a mechanic or two. Like winning the lottery, it would be fun to give it a go. Not sure if there is a "starter" 999R, but this might be it - ready for a valve adjustment, new rubber, a little paint work, and maybe a personalizing update or two. The Make Offer button beckons...