DUCATI HAS SO far announced only tiny tweaks to the Panigale for next year in the form of the latest EVO traction control system on the Panigale S. But recently taken spy shots suggest that there’s something bigger waiting in the wings. Or, more plainly, the latest in a growing list of homologation specials.
There are plenty of things on this prototype that don’t add up, but indications are it could be a last-hurrah, top-of-the-range Panigale before Ducati reveals the bike’s replacement in late 2017. The suspension appears to be similar to the Panigale Superleggera, with black Öhlins FL916 forks and billet machined fork bottoms, although these ones are machined even more to include a weight-saving hole, just ahead of the caliper.
Another Superleggera similarity is the fact that the bodywork’s side panels are made of a single piece, with no seam of fasteners at ankle level, hinting the panel is carbon fibre.
Weirdly, though, the air vents in the lower section of the side panel are higher than normal for a 1299. Instead they match the vents on the smaller 959 Panigale. However, the single- sided swingarm seems to confirm this is the larger bike rather than some sort of high- spec 959 Superleggera. One plausible possibility is that this could be a new 1199 Panigale R, using the slightly smaller 1199cc engine for WSBK compliance, and adding changes to the chassis and electronics to give a boost to the firm’s racebikes.