This is one of the fastest motorcycles we’ve ever featured—and I’d say it’s one of the best-looking too. It’s a Ducati 999S ‘Testastretta’ converted from race to road use by Stefano Venier, a New York-based builder with an immaculate eye for understated aesthetics.
Venier is best known for his classic Moto Guzzi customs, but he was salivating at the prospect of wheeling a 999S into his workshop. “Working on a race bike was a dream project,” he says. “It was a new experience to work on a modern motorcycle too.”
The commission for ‘999VX’ came from photographer Riccardo Vimercati, who wanted to convert his track machine to road use. The bike already had a sprinkling of race parts; it’s closely related to the machines ridden by Troy Bayliss and Reuben Xaus in competition. The top-shelf goodies included an STM clutch and Discacciati levers, plus a RapidBike ECU and quickshifter. Power output is well north of 150 hp.
Once the fairing was off, Venier rebuilt the rear end with a leather seat, a new support frame, and a removable hard seat cover. He then switched out the stock alloy wheels for a set of spoked rims from a Ducati GT1000—describing it as “a really hard job to do right on a bike with so much power.” Exhaust gases now exit via Termignoni Corse headers into a Zard muffler. (“You should hear her voice now!”)
Much of the work was in the detail, removing a multitude of brackets, tabs, wiring and electrical parts, with the odd relocation of components to keep the bike looking tidy in its naked state. The color is a dark gray rather than absolute black, and the front fender is custom-fabricated.
Some things, however, were best left alone. “We tried to redesign the tank, but it was impossible to improve on the Pierre Terblanche design,” Venier reports. “To my eyes, it’s one of the best tanks ever created.” So Venier confined the rest of his mods to small touches like the mesh side panels, designed to give a little visual lift.
The next bikes to leave the Venier stable will be brand new Moto Guzzis: a V7 Stone and a California 1400. We can’t wait to see what he does with those.
Meanwhile, check out the high-resolution gallery of this 999S on our Google+ page.