Exclusive interview: Ducati head of design discusses single-cylinder Hypermotard 698

Ducati 698 Hypermotard mono wheelie on track
Ducati 698 Hypermotard mono wheelie on track

Ducati’s Head of Design, Andrea Ferraresi has spoken exclusively to MCN about the reasons behind the Bologna firm’s return to single-cylinder motorcycle production after a 30-year hiatus – and why we’re unlikely to see the Hypermotard 698 Mono spawn a modern day Supermono sportsbike.

The last time we saw a single from the brand was back in 1993 with the limited-run Supermono 550 racer which used one cylinder of an 
888 superbike’s V-twin.

Ducati supermono

Then at the start of November along came the production-ready 659cc Hypermotard 698 Mono – a 77.5bhp supermoto poised to take the accolade of having the most powerful and highest-revving single-cylinder engine yet seen.

“Engines, for us, are so important and so when we imagine Ducati in the future, we can’t imagine a Ducati without developing fascinating new engines,” Ferraresi told MCN. “Until a few years ago we only had twins, and now we have a single, and V4 engines. Engine development for us is a must. Everything starts from there.”

Andrea Ferrares interview

But he was quick to dismiss forays into further configurations – with the brand already committed to the 18kWh electric V21L MotoE racer which makes 147.5bhp.

On top of this, Ferraresi stated that (for now at least) there are no additional models planned using the new single-cylinder unit – a move likely to disappoint fans of the original Supermono who have been pining for a new one since Ducati teased the engine in October.

“We are all in love with this single-cylinder engine. It’s half of a Panigale Superquadro, so it’s a superb engine. At the moment, we are not forecasting to use it in other models, but never say never,” he said, not quite ruling it out.

Ducati 698 engine left

“For sure, we are all in love and not only in the company, but outside people are super-excited about this single cylinder engine. We all know that the Supermono is in the heart and the brain of many people. At the moment it’s in that bike, but let’s see in the future.”

It’s a surprising stance given the niche market share of a supermoto and the likely high cost of engine development – with the motor itself derived from one half of the 2015-17 1299 Panigale V-twin.

As such, it shares the same giant 116mm piston from the 1285c motor, with a stroke just 1.6mm longer than the superbike at 62.4mm.

Ducati Hypermotard 698 mono engine exploded view

“It’s a niche – that’s true – but we already have a heritage in this niche with the twin Hypermotard,” the Ducati design boss told MCN.

“We have a very big market share in this niche, and we want to attract the attention of a younger audience, so we thought that a single-cylinder motard would be the right choice.”

Restrictable for an A2 licence, it’s hoped that the latest configuration can be used to lure more youngsters into showrooms without sacrificing the brand’s premium ethos.

Ducati 698 mono static image

However, with prices starting at £10,995 (that’s more than Honda’s new CBR600RR) it’s unlikely to be within the reach of many 19 year olds just passing their test.

“It’s a pillar of our strategy, to acquire and to get the interest of a younger audience,” Ferraresi said. “We have several pillars in this strategy. Two of the pillars have been unveiled this year – one is the off-road range, and the second one is the motard.

“This is still a premium approach, so we think that it could work… in this two-directional strategy: acquiring younger customers and staying premium.”