Ducati hints at Panigale Tricolore

What we think that teaser means: a final fling for the Panigale before a V4 replacement?

DUCATI has revealed that it will be unveiling a new model at the Laguna Seca WSB round, with a teaser image that appears to show a Panigale in the firm’s famous Tricolore paint scheme.

Accompanied by the above video, and the headline 'When the end tells the whole story', all indications are that the bike will be some sort of final fling for the Panigale, which is due for replacement.

Ducati has already admitted that there’s a V4-engined superbike under development. It’s likely to make its debut at the end of this year as a 2018 model, but the firm has already confirmed that the Panigale will remain its WSB racer during the 2018 season. That means for one year the firm could have both the V-twin and the new V4 on its books.

It’s possible that this Tricolore-painted Panigale will be a new version of the 1198cc Panigale R – the basis of its WSB bike – rather than another version of the 1285cc 1299 Panigale. That would explain the decision to launch it at a WSB round rather than a bike show. By updating the Panigale R, the firm would be able to homologate a new race-legal Panigale for the 2018 season, giving it a better chance to win a WSB title. At the moment, every generation of Ducati superbike since the creation of the WSB championship in 1988 has won a title, apart from the Panigale range. That’s a situation that the firm would clearly like to end before the Panigale is replaced.

The line ‘When the end tells the whole story’ leaves little doubt that this will be the final fling for the Panigale before its V4-powered replacement. And it should also be the best iteration of the bike that’s been made yet. That means it might even get the same carbon fibre chassis as the 1299 Superleggera.

Exactly what goodies will appear on the bike aren’t known, but if it’s to be a homologation machine for WSB, it will have to cost less than €40,000 – making it around half the price of the Superleggera. Numbers are likely to be limited, although WSB requires a minimum of 500 bikes to be made for homologation, if that’s what it’s intended for.

The video teaser does show that the bike will have high-end, gold-coloured forks and that it has the Euro-spec 1299 Superleggera’s dual high-mounted exhausts rather than the usual Panigale bellypan-mounted version. That suggests this bike, like the Superleggera, could be Euro4 compliant (the normal 1299 Panigale only meets Euro3 and is currently sold in Europe under ‘derogation’ rules that give special dispensation to sell bikes that don’t comply with current regulations.)