Ducati Announces 1199 Panigale Superbike, Will Interested Automakers Bite?
Motorcycle maker Ducati announced today the 1199 Panigale, the brand's newest superbike. With its compact, lightweight design, the 1199 simplifies the superbike formula by uniting several components to increase frame rigidity and reduce the number of required parts. Ducati says the Panigale's dry weight of 361.5 pounds sets a new benchmark for superbike weight.
The key to the Panigale's low weight is its compact monocoque frame, which relies on other components like Ducati's signature 90-degree L-twin engine for support. The monocoque is connected at the cylinder heads by a magnesium subframe, which makes the engine itself integral to the chassis. Made from die-cast aluminum, the monocoque frame saves 11 pounds in overall weight compared to the 1198 the Panigale replaces, according to Ducati. The frame also combines with the fuel tank to form the airbox, eliminating the need for a separate component. The rear swing arm is constructed from aluminum, and is lengthened to achieve a weight distribution of 52/48 with an average-sized rider onboard.
While superbikes generally aren't our thing, all of this tech could potentially attract the attention of automakers interested in purchasing the Ducati brand. As we previously reported, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are currently eyeing Ducati, which was recently put up for sale for $1.32 billion. Could this lightweight superbike, with its space-saving interconnected components, be the cherry on top of the motorcycle manufacturer's already enticing portfolio?
While we've seen what a pairing of Ducati and AMG can yield, what could a partnership with Volkswagen Group's Audi brand result in? Do you think we might see this kind of bantamweight, minimalist treatment on a future Audi model? Give us your thoughts on what might happen if either automaker were to purchase Ducati.