Sceptics, who believed that Ducati had gone soft in their approach over the recent years, have been proven wrong, in a grand fashion befitting the Motoring Giant. The engineers at Ducati, have created, what is clearly going to be the benchmark for Superbikes of 2012. Launched at the EICMA Motor Show in Milan, the Ducati Panigale 1199 has already set the biking world abuzz.
The Ducati Panigale 1199, the name itself a representing a change, with ‘Panigale’, added to the traditional numeric, as a tribute to the region where Ducati originated, is filled with new and amazing features, most of which might not be that easy for long time loyalists to digest. The first big feature of the superbike is the Superquadro engine that can produce up to 195 horsepower at 10,750rpm and 98.1 lb-ft of torque at 9,000rpm, a testimony to the work put in by the engineers, who were given a direct brief of producing a superbike engine having increased torque and power. Many are lamenting the missing the classic Ducati trellis, but the reason for the absence of those is the reduction in weight. The monocoque chassis is a reason for half of the weight saving with the new tank decreasing another 30%, despite the Ducati Panigale 1199 having a larger capacity than the Ducati 1198; this is because of the monocoque casing being made in die cast aluminium.
Though the engine is still a 90º V twin, but to make for improved steering, the engine is rotated 6º further towards the rear. This also helps the Panigale remain agile, while delivering better traction. Another factor, that greatly helps the Panigale retain agility, is the relocation of the exhaust system, which is now below the engine, leading to the aluminium sub frame being attached to the engine, and the magnesium front frame, being attached directly to the monocoque frame, making the superbike lighter.
The Ducati Panigale 1199 is clearly, a class apart and will definitely raise the bar for superbikes to come.