The worst-kept secret in Bologna right now is the fact that Ducati will be switching to a V4 format with its 2018 model year superbike – this being the last year (at least at the top of the model lineup) that Ducati will use a v-twin engine design for its race-focused motorcycles.
We expect the Panigale-killer to be a horsepower beast (220+ hp), and the production motorcycle might even sport some of the aerodynamic enhancements that we have seen Ducati use on the race track in the MotoGP Championship (hopefully just not the company’s “hammerhead” fairing design).
Now, we have name for this next-generation superbike machine, as Ducati has filed trademarks with the United States, European, and Japanese trademark offices (click here for the US filing).
In the US market, Ducati has trademark “Quattrofromaggi” for use on “motorcycles and their structural parts” according to filing documents, a registration designation the company only uses on new motorcycle model names.
The “four form” name is also an obvious nod to the superbike’s upcoming four-cylinder engine configuration, which has been the headline-grabbing feature of the new Ducati motorcycle, and has been giving warm and gooey feelings to Ducatista around the world.
Making the switch from a v-twin format to a V4 is going to be a jump for the minds at Borgo Panigale, though we have good reason to believe that this new engine will be fully baked when it hits dealerships this time next year, as Ducati will be leaning again on its MotoGP program, which uses a 1,000cc V4 engine with desmodromic valves.
Of course, the real question is how fans of this Italian institution will react to this new “four form” superbike from Ducati. Has the Italian brand strayed too far from its core competency? Or will the Quattrofromaggi be recognized as another classic Italian creation? Time will tell of course, on that regard.
When asked for a comment on this news, Ducati PR man Nothong Foryootho was brief with his reply: “I know this is going to sound cheesy, but Ducati has no comment about its future product plans. Personally though, I would expect a hot and meaty motorcycle from our factory next year.”