It has been four years since the Ducati 959 Panigale replaced the 899 as the Italian brand’s “middleweight” superbike, and 26 years since the Ducati 748 Superbike first hit the streets, and started this smaller Italian v-twin adventure.
In that two-decades-plus, we have seen this middleweight offering from Ducati outgrow the Supersport Championship rules, and it now approaches near liter-bike capacities – an inch-by-inch search for more power and performance.
Updated once again for the 2020 model year, it will be the Ducati Panigale V2 keeping those v-twin hopes alive for Ducatisti around the world, as the Italian brand continues to offer this curious motorcycle.
Of course, better minds will know that the Ducati Panigale V2 is not a middleweight, as Ducati so often calls it (though to be fair, the term “super-mid” is starting to be used), but the oddly displaced machine is an excellent track bike, especially for those who have grown tired of chasing absolute horsepower, and instead want to make their lap times with actual on-bike talent.
Finding ourselves at the demanding Jerez circuit in Spain, this tight and technical track proved not only to be a good testing ground for the Ducati Panigale V2, but also a testament into how much fun a superbike like this v-twin can be for those who aren’t swept up in the industry marketing and who aren’t hand-bound by racing rules.
The Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition was made to be the very last example of the Superquadro-powered motorcycles from Borgo Panigale, and it is one of the finest examples of v-twin superbikes that the Italian company has ever made.
Giving way to the four-cylindered Ducati Panigale V4, the Final Edition was supposed to be a special edition machine that Ducati would make for as long as there was demand for it. That day has come though, with Ducati saying that only 1,299 units of the motorcycle will be produced, with production now coming to an end.
The end of an era, we will be sad to see the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition go…in all likelihood, it is the very last v-twin superbike from Ducati Motor Holding.
We teased the Pierobon X85R ahead of this year’s EICMA show, and now we have more photos and details of this amazing motorcycle.
Built to be a chassis kit for Ducati owners with an extra Superquadro engine laying around (899/959/1199/1299), the Pierobon X85R takes this potent street bike and makes it into a track weapon.
The concept starts with a steel alloy (25CrMo4) trellis frame, which includes aluminum alloy blocks (EN AW-6082 T6) that have been CNC shaped into lateral plates. The resulting frame can be built out with either a single-sided or double-sided swingarm.
For those interested, the base kit includes the frame, airbox, air ducts, rear subframe, foot pegs, and lateral electronic holders.
That should be enough to get most builders started, though Pierobon also offers its own fuel tank and swingarm designs (the stock units work with the kit though). The result is a truly unique motorcycle with one of the best v-twin engines ever produced.
If you haven’t heard of Pierobon, you owe it to yourself to do a little research on the brand.
Known best for making race frames for Ducati motorcycles, the company has produced a few complete racing machines that are absolutely gorgeous (we hear they go pretty good around the track, as well).
For your reading consideration, check out the Pierobon X60R with its DesmoDue 1100 EVO air-cooled v-twin engine; the Pierobon X80R, which is powered by the Testastretta 848 liquid-cooled engine; and then there is the Pierobon F042 street bike.
Now, we can add to the list the Pierobon X85R, which uses the Superquadro engine from the Ducati 1199/1299/899/959 series of motorcycles.
For the 2018 World Superbike season, Ducati will once again campaign its v-twin platform: the venerable Panigale R superbike. This will be the final season for the two-cylinder Panigale R, before the Italian firm replaces it with its V4 package (likely too to be named the Panigale R).
This makes the upcoming season a hallmark occasion for Ducatisti, as they watch Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri compete with the Superquadro engine for a final time.
The zenith of v-twin engine design, Ducati’s Superquadro motor is an impressive power plant, but the race team in Borgo Panigale (the bike’s namesake) have reached the limits of their development with it – at least within the constraints of World Superbike regulations.
Looking closely at Ducati’s launch photos for its WorldSBK, we can spot some of those developments.
If you needed more proof that the Ducati 1299 Panigale can make for an attractive retro-styled motorcycle (here, here, and here), then may we present to you one more piece of evidence, the “Naughty Quadro” by designer Alexey Afanasyev.
To make the Naughty Quadro, Afanasyev took the Panigale’s Superquadro engine and built around it an attractive and trendy body structure, which should look familiar to Scrambler owners. If the swingarm looks familiar too, that is because it is off of a Ducati Monster S2R 1000.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Afanasyev design is the custom radiator, which creates a tasteful line for the superbike engine, though we’re not sure if it will do the duty in heavy traffic.
Of course, the most interesting aspect of the motorcycle is that it isn’t a motorcycle at all…as Afanasyev has created some very detailed and very convincing renders for his concept on the computer, which include even the dirt and debris on the engine and tires. It’s really well-crafted.
Talking to Asphalt & Rubber at the launch of the Ducati 1299 Panigale Final Edition, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali gave us some details on the Italian company’s upcoming, and long-awaited, V4 superbike.
Much has already been speculated and rumored about the successor to the v-twin Panigale, but Domenicali paints a pretty clear picture of what we can expect to see unveiled at the upcoming EICMA show, in Milan.
The big news is perhaps not the fact that Ducati is moving to a four-cylinder format for its superbike program (though that is big news indeed), but instead the focus should be on what is inside the V4 engine, and how it operates.
Talking during the WorldSBK weekend at Laguna Seca, he also teased us with some news on a few other upcoming Ducati motorcycles, which should start a new chapter for the Italian brand.
I’m not a fan of the Monster line from Ducati. There, I said it. There is just something about the Monster models over the years that has failed to strike me as appealing, though I must say the latest crop of liquid-cooled Monsters has certainly been a step forward for me, visually.
I’m more of a fan of the Ducati Streetfigther lineup, and I still hope that Ducati has a new Streetfighter design somewhere on its design boards. Ideally, such a machine would have a Superquadro engine at its heart, and accordingly make big horsepower numbers that rip our eyeballs from our sockets.
The fate of the Streetfighter line remains to be seen though, and with each passing model year I expect to see the Streetfighter 848 finally leave the Italian company’s lineup. It would seem the Streetfighter is kaput as of the 2016 model year. -JB
As such, the Monster line could be Ducati’s only naked bike model, any year now. So, if time is really against us, and if the Monster really is to be the only naked bike from Ducati, I hope the future iterations take a lesson from this concept.
Whoa, hold on…don’t worry, you’re still at the right site. Yes this is a car, and yes this is a site dedicated to motorcycles, but it will all make sense in a minute…or however long it takes you to read the headline of this story. Don’t worry…scroll up…we’ll wait.
Anyways, one of the perks for Audi AG’s acquisition of Ducati is that parent company Volkswagen can play around with interesting concepts that involve the compact, yet powerful, engines that come out of Borgo Panigale. One of those flights of fancy has manifested itself into a real-life concept, the Volkswagen XL Sport.
Confirming rumors that Borgo Panigale has been working on a smaller-displacement version of its namesake superbike, and that the machine would have a double-sided swingarm, Ducati debuted today its new “supermid” superbike, the 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale.
Showcased ahead of the IAA International Motor Show, where Ducati will preview its 2014 motorcycle line, the Ducati 899 Panigale features an 898cc Superquadro motor that produces 148hp (73 lbs•ft of torque), a monocoque “frameless” chassis design (372.5 lbs dry), and a bevy of electronics (DQS, DTC, RbW, EBC, & ABS).
Priced at $14,995 (red model) & $15,295 (white model), Ducati hopes that the 899 Panigale will create a more affordable entry for motorcyclists that want to own a Ducati superbike.
When I sat down with Claudio Domenicali at the Ducati 1199 Panigale R launch, the now-CEO of Ducati Motor Holding was still just the General Manager of the Italian motorcycle company. Four weeks after our interview though, Gabriele del Torchio would leave Ducati for Alitalia; and Domenicali, a 21-year veteran of both the racing and production departments of Ducati, would take his place at the top of Italy’s most prestigious motorcycle brand.
An engineer by education, I found Domenicali just as astute about the nuances of Ducati’s brand as he was skilled on the race track earlier in the day. Our conversation was brief compared to other interviews we have done here at Asphalt & Rubber, but we had time to talk about why the frameless chassis of the Panigale still works while the MotoGP program struggles, the links between Ducati and Ducati Corse, sacred cows for the Italian brand, and the company’s future direction.
Concise, yet insightful, the more I think about Domenicali’s unexpected succession of Del Torchio, the more I think he is the right man for the job. With all the worried talk about the possible “Germanification” of Ducati by its new owners Audi, the German automaker has picked someone who is keenly aware of the importance of the company’s racing operations and heritage, and how that ties into the Ducati brand and what it means to Ducatisti around the world.
With all the internal and external changes that are occurring in the company, Ducati is currently in a state of flux with its new owners, new product lines, and new world-growth plans, and could easily lose its way as a brand, but I see Domenicali as an anchor for Ducati going forward. Greeted to his new job by the revving engines of his employees outside his office window, Domenicali to me now seems like the logical pick for Ducati’s new CEO. After reading our interview from Austin, Texas after the jump, I think you will agree too.