Since the introduction of the Ducati 916 in 1994, the Italian manufacturer always offered a younger, more tame sibling.
The 916′s was the 748, a bike identical to the 916 but with a smaller 90-degree L-Twin (748cc) and smaller rear tire. The 748, first offered in 1995 in only yellow, remained the younger brother to the 916, and the later 996 and 998 superbikes.
As the superbike evolved past the 998, so did the younger sibling. When Ducati released the controversial 999 in 2003, the 749 was released, both bikes sharing the same looks once again. Then the 1098 was released in 2007, which was followed by the younger 848 in 2008.
And with the release of the 1199 Panigale for the 2012 model year, it was only a matter of time before information would surface on the newest younger sibling to join the family of smaller desmos. Enter the 899, which was recently leaked in the Italian publication Motociclism.
The first thing noticeable is the lack of a single-sided swingarm, something that has appealed to Ducatisti in all superbikes since the 916 except for the 999.
The 899 has a double banana-styled swingarm, similar to what Aprilia uses on its World Superbike Championship winning RSV4 and Tuono naked sportbike.
Without a doubt, the 899 will be powered by a smaller-displacement version of the 1199′s 195-horsepower L-Twin, likely to follow suite of the older younger siblings and have the correct-sized cc, in this case 899cc. Italian publications rumor the engine to have about 155 horsepower, up from the 848EVO’s 134.
In the pic above, the other thing that sticks out is the sticker over where “1199″ would be written on the Panigale superbike’s fairing. This likely states 899, and would be a clear giveaway to the identity of the bike in this spied photo.
Expect Ducati to release the machine as a 2014 model at the EICMA in Milan this November.
The next question will be colors; the 748 and 749 were known for their various shades of yellow, and the 848 its Arctic White. Though it’d be nice to see something different, the signature color for the 899 will likely be Arctic White like its predecessor.