World Superbike is expected to announce after the Magny-Cours round next week that the Ducati 1199 Panigale will not incur the same 6kg weight ballast penalty as the current Ducati 1098R Superbike. A part of WSBK’s fluidic formula for Superbike racing, World Superbike rules allow for the air intake to be restricted and weight ballast to be added to twin-cylinder motorcycles on an prescribed basis, to compensate for the 200cc displacement capacity advantage the twins have over the four-cylinder machines.
With Carlos Checa handily winning the 2011 Championship, the recipe was set for Ducati to continue to incur a 6kg disadvantage this season, which has sent the Spaniard to fourth in the World Superbike Championship standings this season. Mathematically out of the hunt for the Championship in 2012, Checa is expected to re-sign with Althea Ducati for the 2013 season, where he will campaign the Ducati 1199 Panigale, which will race without the 1098R’s restrictions.
A topic of seemingly some debate, the move should not be a serious surprise to WSBK followers, as the Panigale represents a new machine in the WSBK paddock, and as such would start a clean slate for the balancing act in the racing formula. Nearly at the WSBK minimum 165kg weight in its street-going production form of 166.5 kg, the WSBK-spec Ducati 1199 Panigale race bike has some serious leeway that will allow Althea Racing and other teams explore a variety of racing setups.
With Carlos Checa testing the Ducati 1199 Panigale at Misano this week, Ducati is sending a clear sign that the former World Champion will ride for Borgo Panigale next season. Said privately not to care for the Panigale, Checa has publicly been very positive about the machine. With 195hp in its stock form, Ducati is said to be developing a monster of a bike in WSBK-spec, and with the Panigale starting at 165kg (at least during the first few races of 2013), Checa should be very competitve on the 1199, despite his reservations about the Panigale.
What will be interesting is to see which bike Ducati uses for World Superbike homologation: the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, which is likely, or the mysterious Ducati 1199 Panigale SP that popped up on the leaked EPA documents sheet. Only time will tell.
Source: GPone; Photo: Ducati