Rumours of a new 899 Panigale waiting in the wings for a grand unveil at the Milan show this November have been firmly bolstered by the California Air Resources Board filing emission reports the new model, as well as two Hypermotards and a Hyperstrada.
The CARB documents don’t reveal much more than the bike’s name, and the scantest of technical detail, but it does confirm that the new Ducati will be called the 959 Panigale, while the actual capacity will be 955c. This 57cc boost sees the old 898cc 899 Panigale giving way to the new bike for the new year, with the riding launch of the new bike expected to follow very soon after its Milan unveil, and for bikes to be in dealers by Spring.
The 899 has been a fantastic sales success for Ducati, attracting a significant number of new fans into the Ducati family, and striking an incredible balance of power and handling. While there’s a degree of fear that the capacity hike could upset that balance, there’s no doubt that the chassis can cope with a little more power and torque, and it seems inevitable that Ducati will continue to load their class leading electronics in favour of control and delivery. Many 1199 Panigale riders baulked at the idea of trading up to a 1299 Panigale, claiming that the 1199 was more than enough – but Ducati have thoroughly cracked the ‘control’ nut, making the 1299 the fastest and easiest Ducati superbike of all time. The chances of them not repeating the feat with the new 959 seem very slim indeed.
The new 959 Panigale will be just one of nine confirmed changes to the Ducati range in 2016. The other expected models include the Monster 1200R, two new Hypermotards, a Hyperstrada, Diavel Carbon, Diavel ‘Custom’, a larger capacity Scrambler, and Pikes Peak edition of the Multistrada.