It is no secret that Ducati had high hopes for the Ducati 1199 Panigale when it debuted the machine at the 2011 EICMA motorcycle show, and the Italian superbike certainly has proven itself to be popular with new motorcycle buyers in 2012. Selling 7,500 units worldwide so far this year, the Panigale is one of Ducati’s best selling motorcycles ever, and accounts for roughly 17% of the Italian company’s sales for this year (2012 being Ducati’s best sales year ever).

After all the problems Borgo Panigale has had with its program in MotoGP the past few years (most notably the last two years with Valentino Rossi), and with the Panigale drawing heavily on its GP roots for its “frameless” chassis design, critics questioned whether Ducati Corse’s failures would carryover and taint the street bike.

While the obvious answer is probably in the negative, the question could also be raised what a turnaround in the GP scene could have meant for Ducati in sales, let alone the continued star power of The Doctor.

Also of note is the Ducati 1199 Panigale’s mixed bag reviews in the superbike shootouts, which had it rating well, but usually behind Italy’s other superbike: the Aprilia RSV4 Factory. Another factor is the $1,500 price increase on the 1199 ($17,995 base), compared to the 1198 ($16,495 base), which also saw the “S” model commanding $1,000 more than the Ducati Superbike 1198 SP.

If 7,500 units doesn’t sound like a lot, consider the fact that the best selling sport bike of 2010 was the BMW S1000RR, which sold 10,209 units worldwide, and was BMW Motorrad’s best selling bike in the American market (displacing the wildly popular BMW R1200GS).

We don’t have the breakout numbers to know how the Ducati 1199 Panigale sold in North America this year, compared to other markets, but we suspect more than a few of the machines landed in the USA.

Was the Panigale as big of a hit as Ducati had hoped? Maybe not, but it was still a hit.

Source: GPone