2016 Ducati 959 Panigale Preview
Remember when the 1994 Ducati 916 was superbike of choice, the desmodromic L-Twin arriving with 114 horsepower? And remember its younger brother, the 748, produced a then-powerful 87 horsepower?
It goes without saying that things have changed dramatically in 22 years, especially regarding horsepower figures. And as the older sibling grew, so did the younger one, many of the latter far surpassing the horsepower of Ducati’s original 916.
The 999 had the 749; the 1098/1198 had the 848; the 1199 Panigale had the 899 Panigale. Ducati’s latest superbike, the 1299 that produces 205 horsepower, was expected to garner a new younger brother, and that bike arrived at EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show this week.
Meet the Ducati 959 Panigale, which becomes the Borgo Panigale manufacturer’s new “Supermid”. The bike replaces the 148-horsepower 899 Panigale, and arrives with an entirely new 955cc L-twin Superquadro that produces 157 horsepower at 10,500 rpm.
The 90-degree L-twin – the first Superquadro to pass Euro 4 pollution standards (take notice of the double-exhaust cans on the Euro 4 model) – received a longer stroke (60.8 mm compared to 57.2 on the 899) matched with the unchanged 100mm bore to produce an engine that delivers smooth torque across the rpm range. As for peak torque, the Ducati 955 Panigale produces 79.2 ft/lbs of the fun stuff at 9000 rpm.
The engine, which requires valve-clearance checks every 15,000 miles and general services every 7500 miles, is enhanced with the latest in Ducati electronics, including Ducati Quick Shift, Riding Mode technology including Ride-by-Wire (Race, Sport, Wet), triple-stage Bosch ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Engine Brake Control (EBC).
The Ducati 959 engine is further enhanced by a clutch assembly with a progressive self-servo mechanism; this compresses the friction plates when under drive from the engine without any extra effort required from the rider to release the clutch.
The Monocoque chassis that uses the Superquadro engine as a stressed member remains similar to the 899’s, and suspension is handled by a 43mm Showa BPF fork up front and a side-mounted Sachs monoshock out back (both featuring adjustable spring preload and compression, and rebound damping).
The Ducati 959 Panigale rolls on 10-spoke, 17-inch rims shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires (120/70 ZR17 front; 180/60 ZR17 rear). Braking is handled by dual 320mm discs squeezed by M4.32 Brembo monobloc calipers up front, and a single 245mm disc out back squeezed by a single Brembo caliper.
The Ducati 959 Panigale’s fairings were redesigned for improved aerodynamics and aggressive looks over the 899 Panigale. Ducati also added larger-section front air intakes, a split tailpiece design, new mirrors, and aluminum billet-machined footrests that enhance grip.
As for colors, the Ducati 959 Panigale is available in Ducati Red with black wheels or Arctic White Silk with red wheels. The price has yet to be released, though expect to pay more than the $14,995 MSRP of the outgoing 899 Panigale.
We will be at Valencia next week testing the 959 Panigale, so stay clicked to Ultimate MotorCycling.com for our review.
- Engine: Superquadro L-twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled
- Displacement:955 cc
- Bore x Stroke:100 x 60.8 mm
- Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
- Power: 115.5 kW (157 hp) @ 10,500 rpm
- Torque: 107.4 Nm (79.2 lb-ft) @ 9,000 rpm
- Fuel injection: Mitsubishi electronic fuel injection system. Twin injectors per cylinder. Full Ride-by-Wire elliptical throttle bodies
- Exhaust: 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes.
- Stainless steel pre-silencer + twin aluminum side mufflers**
- Gearbox: 6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS)
- 6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down
- Ratio: 1=37/15 2=30/16 3=27/18 4=25/20 5=24/22 6=23/24
- Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.77:1
- Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 43
- Clutch: Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control
- Frame: Monocoque Aluminium
- Wheelbase: 1,431 mm (56.34 in)
- Rake: 24°
- Trail: 96 mm (3.78 in)
- Steering lock (total): 48°
- Front suspension: Fully adjustable Showa BPF fork. 43 mm chromed inner tubes
- Front wheel travel: 120 mm (4.72 in)
- Front wheel: 10-spoke light alloy 3.50″ x 17″
- Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 120/70 ZR17
- Rear suspension: Fully adjustable Sachs unit. Aluminum double-sided swingarm
- Rear wheel travel: 130 mm (5.12 in)
- Rear wheel: 10 spokes light alloy 5.50” x 17”
- Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 180/60 ZR17
- Front brake: 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo monobloc M4.32 4-piston calipers, with Bosch
- ABS as standard
- Rear brake: 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper, with Bosch ABS as standard
- Fuel tank capacity: 17 l – 4.5 gallon (US)
- Dry weight: 176 kg (387.2 lbs.)
- Wet weight: 200 kg (440 lbs.)
- Seat height: 830 mm (32.48 in)
- Max height: 1115 mm (43.9 in)
- Max length: 2056 mm (80.9 in)
- Instrumentation: Full LCD display
- Ducati electronics: DTC, DQS, EBC, Riding Modes, Power Modes, R-b-W
- Warranty: 2 years unlimited mileage
- Versions: Dual seat
- Additional equipment: DDA+ with GPS-ready