DUCATI has launched the first teaser video for the forthcoming 1199 superbike – confirming its name to be 'Panigale'.
Perhaps as a mark of just how different the new bike is, or maybe because at 1199 there's no scope to increase the capacity any more, it's the first V-twin Ducati superbike in years to get a name rather than just a number. Panigale (which, Ducati explains, is pronounced 'Pan-ee-gah-lee”) refers to the Borgo Panigale part of Bologna where the factory sits. It's a bit like Triumph calling a new model the 'Dodwells Bridge Industrial Estate'.
Aside from the new name, the video reveals little more than some moody shots of Troy Bayliss and snatches of a black bike – either in the distance or intentionally out of focus. Spy pictures revealed weeks ago show far more detail.
The use of the Panigale name for the new bike suggests that another term trademarked by Ducati – Superquadro – will be used to describe the all-new engine it uses. Just as the last few Ducati superbikes have used versions of the Testastretta, itself derived from the Desmoquattro, the new bike's motor is worth of a name all to itself. The Superquadro – which will no doubt eventually spread to other models in the range – ditches the old belt-driven cams in favour of gear drive and is tilted further back in the chassis, making it a more conventional V in appearance rather than the old Ducati 'L' twin. The actual V-angle remains 90 degrees, but the bore is far bigger and the stroke much shorter than earlier engines, allowing higher revs and more power. The Superquadro name translates to 'Super Square' in reference to the cylinders' hugely over-square bore and stroke dimensions.
Ironically, the teaser for the Panigale – the first production bike to use Ducati's monocoque frame design derived from the Desmosedici racer – has been revealed on the same day that Rossi is expected to test a conventional alloy beam framed version of the GP bike in an effort to solve the handling woes that have marred his season so far. Of course road riders will never push the Panigale hard enough to discover whether it's inherited the lack of front end feel that Rossi and other GP riders have criticised in the Desmosedici race bike, but it's sure to be a worry for WSB teams considering the new Ducati. It's also certain to be a concern for Ducati's marketing department, which was hoping to have at least a handful of Rossi/Ducati wins under its belt in preparation for the Panigale's launch...