Now that the 2012 model year motorcycles have debuted (though we still expect a few mid-year releases), the speculation can now begin for the 2013 model year machines. Wasting no time in this process, the Italian press is afire with rumors of a Ducati 799 superbike model to compliment the recently released Ducati 1199 Panigale.
A rumor of this nature, this early in the year, is certainly an interesting one. There should be little debate over the fact that Borgo Panigale has a supersport variant of the 1199 superbike already figured out, tested, & ready for prime time, and our Bothan spies confirm just as much to us. The details of such a bike though, now that’s where the devil resides.
According to the rumors out of the Italian press, the Ducati 799 will have a 750cc displacement, make 145hp, and tip the scales under 160kg (353 lbs). The move to the 750cc displacement apparently comes as a bid to race the mini-Panigale once again in the World Supersport Championship, and of course the 749 designation has already been used.
If true, such a move would be a marked departure from the current Ducati 848 Superbike, which has been a top-seller for the Italian company here in the United States, and according to our notes was top-selling motorcycle for Ducati North America. Showing that 848’s have no problem selling without a racing pedigree, Ducati is seemingly getting back to its roots with the rumored 799, and putting an emphasis on production racing (not that its prototype racing effort has been going swimmingly well).
While there is very credible pattern of Ducati’s middleweight superbike design following its liter-bike compatriot within a one model year window, there has to be some pause regarding this news, since it is coming so closely on the heels of the Panigale’s launch. A radical departure for Ducati, the 1199 is shaping up to be a monster of a machine, but the v-twin superbike still comes with the asterisks that its MotoGP-inspired chassis design has yet to be actually proven in MotoGP racing.
While Bologna expects to hit the ball out of the park with the Panigale, the Italian company could surely hold off on the Ducati 799 (or whatever it ends up being called), if sales for the 1199 Panigale are stronger than expected (releasing the 799 too early could cannibalize sales from the 1199, which will surely will have a higher profit margin).
True, the Ducati 848 Superbike has been long in the tooth for some time now, and has already been EVO’d in 2010 and Special Editioned for 2012 — two clear signs that a model revamp is coming down the pipe, but there does seem to be some cause to refrain from jumping on this rumor’s bandwagon so early in the year, especially when we haven’t even seen the Panigale in the hands of the public. Stay tuned Ducatisti.
Source: Two Wheels Blog