Seeing the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale in the flesh for the first time was worth driving two hours through packed traffic in downtown Milan. Indeed, the 1199 is a monument to ultimate motorcycle engineering and styling. Finally, an heir to the legendary 916!
For a 1.2-liter road- and track-burner, the 1199 is very compact, very light, very sleek and very, very powerful. When the 1199 appeared on stage, the crowd of media people attending the press conference went wild; the bike really is pure beauty.
The performance claims are equally staggering: 195 horsepower, 101.8 foot-pounds of torque, 388 lb. wet-minus-fuel weight. Weight distribution is a “never seen before on a Ducati L-Twin” 52/48 static, thanks in part to a single-sided swingarm that is much longer than the one used on the 1198, to accurately centered components (see the under-belly exhaust system) and to a wheelbase stretched to 56.5 inches. The 1199 features all the best you can expect on a top-class superbike, including anti-lock brakes, traction control, selectable power delivery and an electronically assisted quick shifter.
There are three versions: 1199, 1199 S and 1199 Tricolore. The second model has the lightest, neatest-looking forged wheels one could dream of. The Y-shaped spoke design is much more elegant than that of the cast wheel fitted to the standard 1199. The S also features electronically managed Öhlins suspension. Here, the 1199 might have a slight edge in that it uses the lightest fork in production: the all-aluminum Tenneco-Marzocchi RAC 50 Light. Alleged to provide a 2-lb. reduction in unsprung mass, this new fork incorporates a sealed, pressurized cartridge, with separate fluid for damping and oil for lubrication. Exclusive to the 1199 are compact and lightweight Brembo Monobloc radial-mount front brake calipers teamed with 330mm rotors.
Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio supported General Manager Claudio Domenicali all the way with massive investments in the 1199 Panigale, as<