Don’t expect Ducati to go full retro any time soon

Speaking to execs at EICMA, we learned that while Ducati is happy to riff off old products, a more overt retro recreation is unlikely

Don’t expect Ducati to go full retro any time soon


Having released five of its six EICMA showpieces before the event even started, Ducati saved the best until last - the Panigale V4 SP2 30° Anniversario 916

As the name implies, the £37k bike pays homage to the iconic 916 superbike of the 1990s, but it’s still unmistakably a Panigale, just one with careful colour and trim choices to echo its partial namesake. But with such a rich history to tap into, would Ducati ever go further, perhaps by once again making something like the short-lived SportClassic series of bikes, which much more directly aped the brand’s bikes of the past? 

While going ‘full retro’ is big business these days (just look at a good chunk of Triumph's current range), it sadly doesn’t seem likely over in Bologna. “We don't have it [a bike like the SportClassic] in our plan,” Ducati’s global vice president of sales Francesca Milicia told us shortly after the reveal of the Panigale Anniversario 916. 

Design director Andrea Ferraresi went into a little more detail, explaining that Ducati was happy to bring retro elements to bikes that are still relatively modern in their styling outlook, as seen with the Scrambler and Desert X, rather than anything more overt. “This is the idea of renewing in a way is something that we have already done with the Scrambler,” he said.

“I was in love with that project. So why not celebrate 916 or a Paso or other iconic model in a modern way?” he said, adding, “But not realising a retro bike - realising a modern bike…that reminds you of the original one.”

Asked if there’s a particular bike from Ducati’s back catalogue he’d love to resurrect, Ferraresi takes no time in bringing up the Paso once more. “The first bike designed by Massimo Tamburini was really the first bike in which a designer designed the cycle in the same way as the car designer designs the car,” he said.