Ducati have a habit of giving the hordes of Ducatisti who make the pilgrimage to Misano for World Ducati Week a bit of an extra treat. It started in 2014 when the firm hid the Scrambler in a shipping crate and allowed batches of showgoers into the private enclave to feast their eyes on it, well ahead of its official unveil.
Unfortunately for Ducati, and despite their best efforts to try to confiscate them, someone always manages to sneak a camera in, unmasking the private treat to the whole world.
And yes, it's happened again.
No-one seems sure from whom the leaked image originated, but it's appeared on several forums and websites globally.
Ducati's latest WDW treat is codenamed Project 1312 (the thirteenth project bike started in 2012), but we believe it's more likely to be called the 939 Supersport S when it arrives in UK Ducati dealers in mid-2017.
So what do we know about Project 1312 - the new Ducati Supersport S?
MCN's Andy Davidson is at World Ducati Week, and managed to get a couple of sessions inside the private viewing area today, and then secured a world exclusive interview with Project 1312 Product Manager, Paolo Quattrino, who confirmed the new Supersport is much more than a concept, and will arrive in 2017.
Quattrino revealed: “The engine is tuned to be really, really smooth because it’s a sportsbike with road focused performance.
“The bike is brand new, it’s just the frame that comes from XDiavel and Monster trellis frame. There are some components used on other bikes but otherwise it’s a completely new bike.
“The Supersport is not an entry-level sportsbike. That would be a bike for beginners, this is not that. This is a sportsbike designed for the road.
"There will be two models, the Supersport and the Supersport S. The main difference is that the S has Öhlins suspension front and rear, and a removable rear seat cowl.
"The dash is completely new with new functionality, and is ready for the Ducati multimedia system, the same as on Multistrada. The headlamp shape is completely new, the shape was inspired by Panigale but the headlamp has daytime running lights. The exhaust is new as well as the complete fairing.
“This bike is for customers who desire a sportsbike with versatility and with road focus performance. It is for riders who don’t want a bike for trackdays so this is a bike that is sporty and at the same time comfortable in terms of seating position. It is not in the Panigale family.
“In terms of performance and price performance it is a step behind the 959 Panigale, but it is a completely different family, the only link between the two is sportiness.
“We made this because we wanted to target the customer who loves sportsbikes and wants street legal performance of one. This is designed for the road. It is still truly a sportsbike but for the road. We investigated the market and saw very interesting potential for these types of customers.
“The displacement is the same as the Hypermotard 939, but the problem is we applied mechanical modification and electronic tuning of the engine and even the attachment of the engine to the frame is different. With this frame, the engine is a stressed element. So it is 939 displacement, but not really the same engine, because 80% of it is new.
“The start price will be between £10,000 and £10,800 (12-13,000 Euros) for the Supersport, for the S model I cannot say."
The new Supersport is also certain to boast ABS, three rider modes: sport, touring and urban – each linked to the 8-level traction control, Diablo Rosso II tyres and the requisite (but missing on the 959 Panigale) single-sided swingarm. Both models will have fully adjustable suspension.
Expect a full unveil at the Milan show this Autumn, and for the Supersport to arrive in Ducati dealers in late Spring/early Summer 2017.
For more on the new Ducati Supersport, see this Wednesday's MCN – on July 6.
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