We should have officially named this week Ducati Week, because the Italian brand can’t seem to stay out of the headlines. First, it was the announcement that the “Final Edition” of the Ducati 1299 Panigale would debut at Laguna Seca (the details of which leaked yesterday, too).
Then, it was news that Harley-Davidson might become the owner of Ducati Motor Holding, after news of Ducati’s possible divestiture from the Volkswagen Group has been swirling in business circles for the better part of the past few months.
Just as you shouldn’t judge a good book by its cover, one shouldn’t read too much into spy photos, as manufacturers do their best to obfuscate a machine’s final lines, and of course there is all the test equipment and pre-production nonsense going on as well.
That being said, the new V4 superbike from Ducati has some interesting features that we can see. Obvious ones are the single-sided swingarm and underslung exhaust, which don’t differ too much from the Panigale design.
Our sources tell us too that the V4 superbike will continue Ducati’s “frameless” chassis design, with the headstock, swingarm, and rear subframe attaching directly to the engine.
Readily noticeable is the rear cylinder bank of the engine, which is raked far more rearward on the chassis than we have seen with any Ducati engine, not counting the Desmosedici GP race bike.
This is especially of note, as it will greatly affect the packaging of the machine’s internals, and likely could aid Ducati in its chassis balance problems.
Our sources tell us that the V4 engine will borrow design elements from both the Superquadro v-twin engine design, and the Desmosedici V4 – having a pedigree that is closely based off Ducati’s MotoGP powertrain.
Other items of note are the electronic forks up front, which are presumably semi-active units from Öhlins, and the absence of the side-mounted rear shock, which presumably is in a more traditional mount spot (we can’t quite see it in the photos).
We expect to see the Ducati V4 superbike debut later this year in November, at the EICMA show in Milan. But stay tuned, more details on the V4 machine are bound to leak between now and then.
Photos of the Ducati 1299 Panigale: