Laguna Seca


Here it is, the Ducati Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 superbike. A limited edition machine (only 500 will be made) that commemorates the most iconic motorcycle ever to come from the Borgo Panigale factory, which sees this year being its 25th anniversary of going into production.

The new Panigale V4 model debuted today at the Laguna Seca WorldSBK round in California, and helping make that unveiling extra special was Carl Fogarty, who took the Ducati 916 Superbike to victory twice in the World Superbike Championship.

To go with its limited production run, Ducati has equipped the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 (which is based off the Panigale V4 S) with a bevy of special parts, which includes an Akrapovic exhaust, a dry clutch conversion, Panigale V4 R front frame, forged magnesium wheels from Marchesini, and other bits and bobs from the Ducati Performance catalog.

We broke the news two days ago that Ducati was working on a special edition of the Panigale V4, to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Ducati 916 Superbike. Now, we have some official details on that news to share with you.

Helping Ducati celebrate one of its most iconic bikes is one of the men who raced on them – quite successfully, we might add – Carl Fogarty.

As such, the Ducati Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 model will come with some nods to Fogarty’s racing legacy, while also reminding two-wheeled fans of Ducati’s rich history in the WorldSBK paddock.

I am not sure about this one, but the word out of Italy is that Marco Melandri is set this week to announce his retirement from motorcycle racing. Naturally, we are intrigued.

The rumor comes from La Gazzetta dello Sport (the same publication that’s also currently saying – quite dubiously, we might add – that this will be Jorge Lorenzo’s last season racing in MotoGP), and now the sports magazine suggests that Melandri is ready to hang up his leathers after a tough year back in WorldSBK.

When spy shots of a creatively painted Ducati Panigale V4 came out, we didn’t know what to make of it. The photos didn’t reveal too much beyond a unique paint job, which is why we quickly moved on from them, but our Bothan Spies have made sure that we are in the loop on what is afoot.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Ducati 916 Superbike, which is a milestone near and dear to the hearts of many Ducatisti. And thus, it doesn’t surprise us to see that the spy photos show a machine that gives homage to that era of Ducati’s history – the 916/996/998 are perhaps the most iconic motorcycles ever made.

Tie those pieces into the fact that we know that Ducati has a special event ahead of the Laguna Seca WorldSBK round, and things start to get interesting, which is where our headline comes into play.

Word on the street is that Ducati is about to release a Carl Fogarty edition of the Ducati Panigale V4.

A belated Brappy Holidays to you all from the Brap Talk podcast crew, and good news as Episode 3 dropped just in time for the holidays (we are a little late posting it up to A&R).

As the title of the show suggests, in this episode our big topic is what motorcycles we would put in our dream garage, with little regard given to whether or not they would fit in Santa’s sleigh.

Before we get to our picks (and why we picked them), we cover a bit of news. First up is the news that Laguna Seca has been added back into the 2019 WorldSBK Championship calendar.

If you live in the United States and like World Superbike racing, then we have good news for you, as the 2019 WorldSBK Calendar now includes Laguna Seca as a destination for next year.

After many indications that the World Superbike Championship would not be coming to the United States next year, after a contract dispute with the California track and Spanish racing series, that course has seemingly made a 180° turn.

Therefore, Laguna Seca will play host to the World Superbike series – sans World Supersport or Supersport 300 – during the July 12th-14th racing weekend.

While the line up for the 2019 MotoGP season was settled surprisingly early in the year, the opposite has been the case for WorldSBK. With just two weeks to go to the first full test of 2019, there are still a whole range of seats open, and questions going unanswered.

One of the reasons for the delay became clear at the EICMA show in Milan last week. While the manufacturers were presenting their newest bikes, including some of the key machines that will star in World Superbikes next year, a couple of manufacturers also presented their racing programs for 2019.

Perhaps the biggest story came from Honda, where HRC presented Althea and Moriwaki as their new partners in running their WorldSBK program. After a partnership of three years, and a relationship going back nearly two decades, Ten Kate are out, with the Italians and Japanese taking over.

It wasn’t just Ten Kate: title sponsor Red Bull were also out. The energy drink firm had signed up when Nicky Hayden was with the team, a big name draw for sponsors, and a rider with a long connection to Red Bull.

It was Red Bull who brought in Jake Gagne, the American who never really found his feet in the WorldSBK championship. After two years of poor results, Red Bull withdrew.

This week at the EICMA show in Milan, we expect to see the 2019 World Superbike Championship calendar released. However, we do not expect to see the Laguna Seca round listed on it…not yet, at least.

As we understand it, the WorldSBK calendar will be released with a “TBD” in the month of June, where the Laguna Seca round should normally be found. 

With the circuit and Dorna still arguing over licensing fees, and the future of World Superbike racing in the United States, the inclusion of the American round has been put into jeopardy.