Ahead of the Ducati 899 Panigale’s debut last month at San Marino MotoGP, the Italian manufacturer’s CEO Claudio Domenicali discussed the newest “Supermid” at a press meeting held in Ducati headquarters in Bologna.
Claudi Domenicali says: “The 899 Panigale is a prime example of the technological excellence that has traditionally characterized our motorcycles. It is the reward of what we call ‘performance redefined’, a modern, innovative sports motorcycle which uses ground-breaking technology to ingeniously adjust to everyday use.
“User-friendly, safety-enhanced, and great fun at the same time. A motorcycle as thrilling as only a true Ducati can be. This important concept will carry on into our future production and also our range expansion plans, focusing on the concept of performance that we intend to extend upwards to create even more sophisticated, race-derived models, and downwards to cater for the market of ‘easier’ and more accessible models.”
The Ducati 899 replaces the 848EVO, giving riders a “new way to access the world of Ducati Superbikes” such as the 1199 Panigale. The 899 is mirrored off the 1199 Panigale, featuring a monocoque frame and the sexy race aesthetics.
But the unique elements of the 899 that immediately seperate it from its predecessor is the double-sided swignarm, and the 898cc Superquadro L-Twin. This brand-new engine produces a 148 horsepower, up 14 from the 848EVO, and is enhanced with a host of Ducati electronics, including Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) and the fully integrated Riding Mode technologies of Ride-by-Wire, triple stage ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Engine Brake Control (EBC).
Besides discussing the new 899 Panigale, which will be available this October in Ducati Red of Arctic White, Domenicali also discussed Ducati’s position one year after the Audi Group acquisition, and the company’s plans, strategies and goals.
Claudio Domenicali says: “My professional career began here at Ducati 22 years ago and finding myself at the helm of the company today makes me immensely proud, but also aware of the huge responsibility that comes with this position.
“Audi is a stakeholder who wishes to be involved in the technical development of the company and to focus its efforts on product development. Now, a year after the acquisition, it is time to take stock of the initial results and look to the future with a positive and proactive attitude.
“Ducati achieved record sales in 2011 and again in 2012 when over 44,000 motorcycles were delivered to customers. Despite the current market dip, Ducati have almost equalled those sales for the first six months of 2013 and, with the introduction of new models in the second half of the year, we are expecting positive results.
“The new Hyperstrada became available in showrooms from early June while the 899 Panigale will become available this October. In addition to this, positive sales trends are being recorded in emerging markets, such as 66% growth in Thailand, a country where we were not even present three years ago and where we expect to deliver approximately 2,500 motorcycles this year.
“In Brazil, where we only started to sell motorcycles this year, we are now averaging 100 deliveries to customers per month and in China sales are up 75% on 2012. With 90% of our production now being exported, the US has firmly taken over from Italy as our top market, leading us to believe that our growth trend will continue throughout 2014, repeating the highly positive bottom line figures that we achieved in the past few years.
“As for racing, we certainly cannot claim to be happy with the current results, but our goal is to bridge the gap that currently separates us from the leaders. We are already working on the new Desmosedici for 2014, when we want to be in a position to fight for podium finishes.”
For a First Look Review of the Ducati 899 Panigale, click here.