If you dumpster dive through filings with the California Air Resources Board, you will find that Ducati has a new variant of its “middleweight” superbike ready for us, as the paperwork reveals a Ducati 959 Panigale Corse is on the way for the 2018 model year.
The Ducati 959 Panigale Corse has the same emission figures, and is on the same filing as the current Ducati 959 Panigale, so we don’t expect any radical mechanical differences between the two motorcycles.
But, looking at Ducati’s past with “Corse” models, there are a few pieces of information that we can glean from the news.
The first piece of information is pretty obvious: the Ducati 959 Panigale Corse will be a special edition version of the 955cc sport bike, likely fitted with special parts (suspension, brakes, electronics) and a unique livery (bold new graphics).
The second piece of information that this news tells us is that the Ducati 959 Panigale is nearing its end-of-life. As we saw with the Ducati 848 Superbike EVO Corse (say that three times fast), Ducati likes to end a model’s run by making special edition units of the bike, as a sort of last hurrah.
For proof of this, beyond the Ducati 848 Superbike EVO Corse of course, just look at the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Special Edition, which is the end-of-the-line for the Ducati’s v-twin superbike platform.
Now the big question is what will happen next to Ducati’s middleweight sport bike program. If we can assume that the Ducati 959 Panigale has a year, maybe two, left in its life, then that leaves a gapping hole for the 2020 model year onward.
With Ducati going to a V4 platform for its superbike offering, starting with the 2018 model year, that would seem to be an obvious route for Ducati to follow with its middleweight machine.
However, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has already told us that the V4 platform won’t be used for a 600cc class machine – the desmodromic V4 engine being too complex and expensive to work in the cheaper supersport category.
He echoed that the 959 Superquadro engine would continue to be used in this space, which just leaves the question of what kind of chassis will it be mounted in? Time will tell.