Ducati has just released a short, 16-second clip teasing a new version of its range-topping Panigale superbike. The video's title strongly suggests that this is the final version in the Panigale range before the motorcycle gets replaced by a V4-powered superbike. Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali announced the upcoming V4 superbike at the 2017 MotoGP team launch in Bologna this January.
From the video, we can tell that the basic shape of the Panigale remains the same. The video shows glimpses of white detailing above the headlight and on the side fairing. Previous Panigales to have worn similar white detailing include the Panigale Anniversario from 2016 and the racing homologation special Panigale R which runs a 1,198cc motor. Ducati stuck with the smaller-capacity engine for the R because racing rules specify that engine size cannot exceed 1,200cc for V-twins, meaning the 1299 Panigale cannot compete in championships like the World Superbike Championship.
The final detail we see in the video is a close-up shot of the gorgeous titanium exhausts that feature on the Ducati race bikes and the newly launched Panigale Superleggera. But there is another hint in the thumbnail used for the video which shows the use of green, white and red, the colours of the Italian flag, on the tail section. These colours are usually reserved for limited editions of Ducati’s range-topping superbikes, case in point being the 1199 Panigale S Tricolore from 2012.
So, what could this teased bike be? One possibility is that it could be a 1299 S Panigale Tricolore – a high-spec, last hurrah for the final road-going V-twin superbike on sale before it gets replaced by a V4. The Termignoni exhaust teased is similar to the one on the Panigale Superleggera and that bike is Euro 4 compliant unlike the current 1299 Panigale. So, it’s possible that this could be a limited-run of higher-spec Panigale 1299 S with the Tricolore paint scheme and possibly some high performance parts from the Superleggera.
However, it’s quite telling that Ducati will reveal this bike on July 7 at the Laguna Seca round of WSBK. The new V4 superbike may go on sale in 2018, but Ducati has already confirmed that the 2018 WSBK bike will be powered by the same L-twin motor, only to be replaced by the V4 bike in 2019. So, there’s a good chance that this bike will be a new version of the Panigale R, perhaps with the trick carbon-fibre frame from the Superleggera. Ducati will be working fervently at making the 2018 Panigale R as competitive as possible given that the Panigale hasn’t won a single WSBK title since it began racing in 2013.