There’s plenty to like about the 899 Panigale’s performance, including its light agile chassis and the everyday driveability of its Superquadro engine, but just look at it – is it not the most beautiful machine you’ve ever seen?
It was previewed in Frankfurt at Monday’s VW Group Night, which is traditionally reserved for new models from Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Bentley and Lamborghini, but of course Ducati is now an Audi Group brand. The 899 Panigale was then officially presented this morning at the Ducati factory in Bologna, Italy.
One year on from its acquisition by Audi, the Ingolstadt car maker is becoming increasingly involved in the technical development of Ducati’s bikes. The new 899 Panigale is a “Supermid” version of the larger-engine 1199 Panigale, designed to provide close to the same thrills within a more refined and everyday street bike.
Ducati UK have confirmed it will go on sale in November, priced at £12,495 and will be eligible to compete alongside the existing 848 Evo model in the 2014 Ducati TriOptions Cup – supporting the MCE British Superbike Championship.
Using a new version of the Superquadro engine, the 899 Panigale delivers 146bhp and 73 lb-ft of torque with a dry weight of just 169kg and like its larger sibling, the 899 Panigale’s V-twin engine continues to be a fully stressed member of its monocoque construction.
It’s probably worth pointing out BMW’s offering in this space. The closest they seem to make is the 193bhp S 1000 RR which weighs 178kg and costs a little more at £13,735. Of course they’re a different class of bike and Ducati’s £16,145 1199 Panigale would provide a fairer test, but then its nowhere near as usable on the road nor as well priced.
The 899 Panigale will make its first public appearance at the San Marino Republic round of the MotoGP championship this weekend, when the brand new model will be unveiled just before the main MotoGP race.
* * *