Ducati have been spied testing a replacement for the 959 Panigale and it’s a V-twin! There have been rumours that the baby-panigale might have a detuned version of the V4 but it’s clear from these photographs that Ducati are still invested in twin technology.
Externally the engine casings look very similar to the ones on the current 959, leading us to believe that Ducati will have stuck with the Superquadro engine. However it’s likely undergone changes internally perhaps including a small displacement increase, although we imagine Ducati will be keen to keep it under the 1000cc mark.
There’s also a new exhaust collector, which is physically much larger than the one on the current bike, even without the silencer fitted. It’s possible that this alone, as well as a conversion to twin spark, might be enough to scrape through the incoming Euro 5 emissions targets.
The other big change is that the small capacity machine will once again be returning to a single sided swingarm – the first one since the 848 over 10 years ago. While you can argue until you’re blue in the face about one vs the other, there’s no doubting it’s something of a Ducati staple and as the last performance v-twin Ducati are clearly keen to hang onto it.
For now it appears to be just a parts bin special, with the wheel and swingarm from a 1299 mated with the front end of the current 959 but we don’t see any reason why it won’t stay that way.
The bodywork too has had an update, with the front end completely resculpted to match the V4. The belly pan, rear end and tank appears to have stayed the same. This model seen testing appears to be the standard model, judging by the suspension and pillion hangers but it’s possible there will be a few variants.
With no other big twin to compete against (and no real commercial rivals) Ducati could easily produce S or R versions with high spec componentry. We expect Ducati to unveil the new machine at the EICMA motorcycle show in November, with it on sale the following spring.
What we expect from the new Ducati 959 Panigale
- With some changes a small increase in capacity, we’d expect a small boost in output to around 165bhp
- With modern electronics plus that massive cat, we wouldn’t be surprised if the weight stays around the same or even creeps up
- Without another model to compete with, Ducati could offer upmarket options including high spec Ohlins suspension and lightweight wheels
- Given that a base model V4 is £20k and the current 959 starts at £14k, even if the price creeps up it would still be a lot cheaper than the V4
- The current 959 has basic ABS and traction control, but we’d expect the new model to get an IMU unlocking fancy electronics like wheelie control
More from MCN