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The discussion about when Ducati would build its first electric motorcycle has been going on for quite some time, but the conversation reached a new height about a year and a half ago, when Volkswagen debuted its Roadmap E initiative.

The concept here is simple, all of the brands in the VW family would have a full line of electric vehicles by the year 2030. This set off speculation about how this order would affect the Bologna-based motorcycle maker.

Then a month later, Ducati’s Edouard Lotthé (Managing Director of Ducati Western Europe) was quoted saying that an electric model, as well as a scooter, are both in the works for the Italian brand.

Lotthé tipped that we wouldn’t see either before the 2021 model year, but time has certainly ticked by since then. Now in the 2019 model year, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has added more fuel to the EV fire.

Quoted at a student event at the University of Bologna, Domenicali stated that “the future is electric” and that Ducati was not far from starting production on an electric motorcycle model.

It is curious that the past couple of weeks have been rife with internet chatter about Ducati working on a 450cc motocross bike. It is a strange rumor, and if true it would be big news for Ducati.

Of course, for the very same reason that it would be big news, this rumor is also hard to believe, if for no other reason than Ducati getting into the MX scene would be a huge jump for the Italian brand.

What is more curious though is the timing of the story, as it comes only two weeks after we published some thoughts about how Ducati can expand its lineup, through the acquisition of a brand like TM Racing.

This is it, the final countdown. The new year is already starting its first hours in other parts of the world, and we won’t have long to wait until 2019 is upon us here in the United States of America.

So, allow us to squeak in just one more “2018 in review” type of story, as I wanted to share with our readers the most important motorcycles that we saw this year – and also got to ride.

The list is an interesting one, as not only is it comprised of a number of machines that lead their segments, but also we picked motorcycles whose debuts carried gravitas for the industry.

As such, these are the motorcycles that defined 2018 model year, and now we only have a matter of hours to begin seeing the bikes that will shape 2019 for motorcyclists.

“We have to look which is the best ownership for Ducati. Either we find a way forward for Ducati, which provides some growth, some probably additional brands, or we have to look for new ownerships...I wouldn’t exclude that.”

Ever since Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said those words, I have been perseverating on their meaning. Many in the industry have taken Herr Diess to mean that Ducati is once again for sale, and that Ducati's time within Audi AG is coming to an end.

As Diess says himself, we can't exclude that possibility. But, what about the part of his statement that proceeds that notion?

How does one make Ducati Motor Holding more profitable? More sustainable? Better suited for the trends we are seeing in the motorcycle industry? In the changing world that transportation is facing?

How does the Italian company fit into all those questions marks, and more? This is the thought that has been burning a hole on my notepad recently, and I keep coming back to Diess' thought that Ducati should have some additional brands.

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The Ducati Panigale V4 might be the pinnacle of superbike design, but today mark’s the machine’s fifth recall in its inaugural year of production. 

This particular recall affects the Panigale V4’s cam chain tensioner, which may loosen over time, and possibly cause oil to leak from the bottom of the tensioner adjustment bolt.

Obviously, an oil leak could lead to a loss of traction for the motorcycle, and may cause the bike to crash, hence the need for a recall.

Episode 2 of the Brap Talk podcast is out, and in this show our big topic of conversation centers around the dealership experience.

As such, we rely heavily on Shahin’s decade-long career of working in motorcycle dealerships, and discuss what can be done better – by both the dealers, and the customers. We also wander into speculation about our future with robot overlords.

Before we get to that in-depth conversation in the podcast though, we cover a few newsie items.

The future of Ducati seems to be always up in the air, especially with Volkswagen AG’s constant back-and-forth when it comes to selling the motorcycle brand.

The German’s latest attempt to sell Ducati may have faltered in the boardroom, but there is new reason to believe that acquisition talks could be started for Ducati, as KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has expressed interest in owning the Italian motorcycle company.

Talking to German-language publication Speedweek, Pierer expressed his interest in adding Ducati to his stable of motorcycle marques, and floated some ideas on how Ducati could fit into KTM’s overall two-wheeled strategy.

His thoughts are…interesting, to say the least.

In addition to the Ducati Panigale V4 recall that we saw earlier this week, we have another safety issue from the Bologna brand.

This time it concerns the Monster 821, Monster 1200, and Supersport models from Ducati, which may suffer from the shift lever having been incorrectly assembled, which could possibly result in the shift knob detaching from the lever.

If the knob falls off the shifter, a bike could get stuck in gear, which poses a safety issue to the rider, so a recall has been created with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In total, 2,705 units from the 2017, 2018, and 2018 model years are affected by this recall.

Arguably the biggest superbike announcement for the 2019 model year, the Ducati Panigale V4 R is getting no shortage of press, and it is easy to see why.

With 217hp (162 kW) on tap, removable winglets, a WorldSBK title to win, dry clutch, and a $40,000 price tag, there are no shortage of things to talk about when it comes to the Panigale V4 R.

The Ducati looks great in race trim, and it doesn’t take much to boost the machine’s peak horsepower figure to 231 hp (172 kW).

In its racing trim, the Ducati Panigale V4 RS19 will climb to over 17,000 rpm – that is, at least until the WorldSBK performance-balancing rules get ahold of it.