If you believe everything you read on the internet, then surely you know that Ducati is
allegedly getting ready to release a Panigale-based Streetfighter in the next few months. Another potent rumor making the rounds is that Ducati is working on a totally new v-twin engine, which will meet Euro 4 emission standards.
The first rumor got its start from Visordown, which says that it has received an invitation for press launch in September that will consist of “a track test for a road bike.”
The British publication deduces that the new model must be a sport-oriented machine to warrant the track time for journalists, and the only model in Ducati’s lineup that’s long-in-the-tooth that fits the bill is the Streetfighter 848, and the recently discontinued Streetfighter 1098.
The second rumor comes from Moto-Station, with the French site getting word from a source that Ducati has an all-new Euro 4 compliant engine that it will debut at EICMA this November. They go on to speculate that the engine could have Ducati Variable Timing (DVT), and would fit a sport-touring bike.
Let’s examine these two rumors a bit further, in turn.
The idea that Ducati could be working on a Panigale-based Streetfighter is an obvious one to latch onto. This is because the Streetfighter line is due for a refresh, the Panigale is far enough along in its sales cycle that a naked model would likely increase sales, and the streetfighter segment has seen a lot of new exciting entries the past few years.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s a model that a vocal minority really want to see built/continued. Sign us up in this category, for selfish reasons.
The reality of course is that the Streetfighter models never sold well for Ducati, outside of Europe. With the Monster range now liquid-cooled the overlap between the two model lines is very high, and the new Hypermotards aren’t helping things either.
Just looking at Ducati’s lineup, it’s hard to imagine a gap big enough to really justify the expense of creating a new Streetfighter, especially when there are lower-hanging fruit to be had.
The straw pole amongst most moto-journalists is that Ducati would let the Streetfighter line die with the 848 model after this year, never to be replaced again, which would mean the news of a Panigale-based Streetfighter comes as a bit of a shock.
And if there’s one thing that the Yamaha FZ-09 has shown us, it is that naked bikes certainly do sell in the United States, it’s just a matter of price and marketing.
The last part of this rumor, a press launch in September, is certainly eye-raising from Ducati, and outside the norm. One would expect it for a model update launch, a refresh for the Ducati 899 Panigale perhaps to match the new 1199 to 1299 upgrade, but not for an all-new model…that would surely come at the trade shows, and be launched to the press in the winter or spring.
That brings us to the second rumor at hand, a new Euro 4 compliant engine from Ducati.
We know that Ducati isn’t going to replace the Superquadro power plant, at the core of its Panigale sport bikes, any time soon. Additionally, the Testastretta lump just got updated with variable valve technology, with the Testastretta DVT in the new Multistrada 1200, which also happens to be Euro 4.
We would expect to see the Testastretta DVT make its way into the Diavel and Monster 1200 for the 2016 model year, with maybe an 821cc version as well for the Hypermotard and Monster 821. As such, It’s hard to imagine another motor coming into Ducati’s lineup.
If there’s one thing the Italian brand has excelled at over the past few years, it’s building a multitude of motorcycles off a very small number of platforms/engine designs.
We doubt Ducati would want to move away from that practice, a coveted one in business theory, by adding another power plant to its product mix; and if anything, our expectations above would see Ducati consolidating its engine designs, as desired.
The only way the latter rumor makes sense is if you combine it with the first, an all-new bike/model with a purpose-built engine…even then, we’re dubious.
Time of course will tell how these rumors pan out, though we are very interested to see what Ducati unveils later this year. The Italians have been surprisingly quiet with their summer “spy shot” teasers…maybe too quiet.