September 28, 2011
Accompanied by rude fat jokes, spy photos of Ducati’s new Superbike replacement have emerged on enthusiast forum Ducati.ms, giving us some idea of the bike’s size and features six weeks before the bike’s official world debut.
We’ve been speculating about this bike for a while, and it looks like some of our speculation is borne out. Monocoque aluminum chassis? We can’t see anything under the bodywork, but patent filings indicate yes. Öhlins suspension and Brembo racing monobloc brakes? We can see those. Underbelly exhaust? Yes, complete with a big Termignoni label. We can also clearly see the massive-looking single-sided swingarm. The prototype has a chrome bar-end mirror, but that’s obviously for testing purposes—I’d expect mirror/turn-signal units like the current superbikes are equipped with. The new horizontally mounted rear suspension is not-so-elegantly covered with what looks like a bedpan, but you can spot bits of the linkage.
The exposed engine cover hints at an all-new motor. We told you earlier the powerplant will be the all-new 1199cc “Superquadratta,” with gear-driven cams and extremely over-square (in fact, ’superquadratta’ is Italian for ‘over-square’) bore and stroke figures. A much higher rev limit is a likely result, with output possibly approaching 195 horsepower. That new-found extra power will be asked to carry less weight—the new monocoque design promises substantial weight savings on a bike that’s just about the lightest in its class already. To buttress these claims, there is a report on a moto-blog that a So-Cal Ducati dealer posted a not-so-cryptic “395/195” message on its FaceBook wall after attending a recent Ducati North America dealer meeting in Florida—395 pounds wet and 195 hp?
Another thing apparent from the photos is the small size of the bike. According to chatter on the forum, Ducati has a range of testers, and this is obviously the more man-sized one, but the bike still looks very compact. Not comfy for larger riders (clearly), but this bike is designed not as a comfy all-day sport-tourer, but as a tool to maintain Ducati’s dominance in World Superbike racing.