Two years after production of the MHe bikes, Ducati faced a new challenge, reconsidering the design of the bike that, together with the Monster, would make the biggest impact in terms of production: the 916. 
Over the course of almost ten years, more than 70,000 examples of the 916 and its evolutions (the 748, 996 and 998) were produced, and it was clear that substituting the 916 in the heads (and hearts) of the ducatisti would be far from simple. Pierre Terblanche thus decided to create a bike that would break away from the universally recognised 'standard' of the 916.

And this is how the 999 was born. The new Ducati Superbike was very different from the 916, with a new line, a double swing-arm in place of the single swing-arm of the 916, double polyellipsoidal front headlights and greater rider comfort: everything was designed so as to ensure the bike was technically very advanced.

The 999 also proved to be extremely effective on the track, winning three Superbike titles with Neil Hodgson (2003), James Toseland (2004) and Troy Bayliss (2006).
Its production life was, however, rather brief and, after only five years, it was substituted by the 1098 that harked back to the lines of the Ducati 916.