Ducati has introduced a new version of its 1198cc engine featuring a variable timing system. As the name implies, the Testastretta Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) engine combines the company’s signature desmo valves with a variable timing system that adjusts both intake and exhaust camshafts. According to Ducati, this represents the first ever application of both technologies for a motorcycle engine.

The DVT system independently adjusts timing on both the intake and exhaust valves using an adjuster fitted on the end of each camshaft. The external housing connects to the cam belt pulley while an internal mechanism connected to the camshaft independently rotates within the housing. This allows for a variable delay between the rotation of the cam belt and the camshaft. The amount of delay (or advance, depending on how you look at it) is controlled by oil pressure in special chambers controlled by a sensor in the cam covers using dedicated valves. Ducati’s parent company Volkswagen uses a similar technology.

At high rpm, DVT increases the amount of overlap when the intake and exhaust valves are open between the end of the exhaust stroke and the start of the intake stroke. Ducati says this optimizes high engine speed performance while offering smooth operation, fluid power delivery and high torque at low- to mid-rpm.

The desmodromic valve system does not use springs, reducing the amount of force need to activate the valves at low engine speeds. This allowed Ducati to reduce the size of each cam phaser, reducing weight and making for a more compact engine. Ducati also repositioned the fuel injectors, aiming them directly onto the rear of the hot intake valve instead of the cooler intake port wall, enhancing fuel vaporization and improving combustion efficiency.

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Ducati says the dual-spark 1198cc Testastretta DVT engine produces up to 160 hp at 9500 rpm and 100 ft-lb. at 7500 rpm. By comparison, the previous Testastretta engine equipped on the 2014 Multistrada peaks at 150 hp at 9250 rpm and 91 ft-lb. at 7500 rpm.

The DVT system allows the engine to claim 59 ft-lb. at torque at just 3500 rpm. From 5750 to 9500 rpm, Ducati says the engine will consistently offer at least 74 ft-lb.

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An added benefit of DVT is improved fuel efficiency, with Ducati claiming an average of 8% reduction in fuel consumption compared to the previous Testastretta engine. To reduce emissions, the DVT enigne uses a secondary air system to optimize combustion.

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One concern about the added complexity of a variable valve timing system is more difficult maintenance. Thankfully, Ducati says the DVT engine only requires valve clearance adjustments every 30,000 km (18,641 miles)

Ducati does not mention what models will receive the DVT engine, but the likeliest recipient is the Multistrada, with the Diavel likely to follow.

[Source: Ducati]