The Ducati 1299 Panigale's days of carrying the banner into World Superbike battle are numbered, but a teaser video released today by Ducati suggests they aren't done squeezing new models out of the V-twin just yet.
The teaser video, titled "When the end tells the whole story," suggests we haven't seen the last iteration of the 1299 Panigale, though we will on July 7, presumably at the U.S. round of the Superbike World Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Of course we shouldn't expect too much. No doubt the heavy lifting is being directed at the new V4 Superbike that will take the Panigale's place in WSBK competition. I expect some lovely paint, maybe some nice bits, but nothing so radical as the carbon fiber 1299 Superleggera.
For those of us who have been following World Superbike for years, this is an interesting turn of the tables. Two decades ago, superbikes were either 750 cc four-cylinders or 1,000 cc twins. Eventually, Honda got tired of watching Carl Fogarty and then Troy Bayliss, among other Ducati riders, gleefully roaring off to victory on the backs of their 33 percent displacement advantage. Honda decided it was easier to beat them if they joined them and built the RC51, a liter-sized twin. One result was the 2002 WSBK championship battle, Honda vs. Ducati, Colin Edwards vs. Bayliss, one of the great comebacks and some of the tightest man-to-man racing combat I ever had the chance to see.
Now, the tide is flowing the other way. Ducati has that V4 in the MotoGP Desmosedici. Why not build a street version? Not the super-exclusive RR they sold nearly a decade ago, but just a premium sport bike. Like a Panigale replacement. Ducati execs have already confirmed such a project is in the works.
But apparently the Panigale will get one more tweak and one more day in front of the paprazzi before it cedes racing duties to the V4 Superbike to come.