More, always more! Until new frontiers that they draw themselves. The Ducati Superbikes never stop increasing in displacement. After the big Panigale which has evolved a little in style, much more in technique, and out of competition with a 1299 on the flanks, it is the turn of the little one to move up to the next level.. On the assault of sport, overflowing Italian sauce on the main course, the Ducati 959 Panigale continues a chapter full of ardor and passion. But…
748, 749, 848, 899, 959 – In a few generations, the small sportswoman from Bologna has become almost as big as a Japanese hypersport. In its bowels, the Superquadro inflates its muscles. But outside, nothing appears. The Panigale remains a small-scale machine, with an ever so striking compactness. It makes you wonder how engineers can fit so much into so little space. It is only fair if an operating room and laparoscopic instruments are not needed to perform the revisions.
With its sculpted silhouette, we are on familiar ground. The tradition that every "small" Superbike Ducati copies its elder, we instantly find its marks. Fine touch-ups on the fork crown with a slight improvement in protection, fairing stretched to turn heads. It is on the back that everything is played in terms of design. The Bologna firm persists in not reintroducing the single-sided arm, a dissent that everyone will judge at will. Let’s move on; that is not the main problem. Fans of clean lines will choke at the sight of the 959 Panigale’s dual side tailpipes. Argghh !!! No more eructions under the engine. Two Monster-style tubes massacre the line, initially finely drawn with a scalpel. Euro4 standards have been there; and to breathe "politically correct", these two unsightly appendages mess up the style.
Well, anyway, will have to with … The positive point of this standard is that the Ducati can land on the territory with all its watts and without taking the lead. And nags, there are, even more.
If the 899 went to 959, it is not to ape the fable of the frog and the ox. The twin is found even more castrated by Euro4, offering it more displacement allows to keep the trunk and the responder. Then, by working well in the engineering department, we box even more cannons. The 959 Panigale sends no less than 157 horsepower. That’s 9 units won on the previous version. Cubing precisely 955 cm3, this Ducat would be almost a nod to a pure factory machine: it has the same displacement and almost the same power as the 916 Corsa of the WSBK, derived from the 916 SP3 of 1996.
Let the 916 live its legend and come back to the Superquadro engine. Its explosion volume increase is achieved via an increase in stroke of 3.6 mm. It is thus established at 60.8 mm, with for company a very copious bore of 100 mm. Improved lubrication, new valves, modifications to the crankshaft, cylinders, camshafts, cylinder heads, a second set of injectors to force-feed the engine from 8500 rpm; there are many changes that cannot be seen. In addition to the increase in power, the torque also benefits from this inflation and reaches almost 11 mkg – 107.4 Nm to be precise. Flute, the transmission has been lengthened, to please the bureaucrats. Well, we will have to think about finding a pinion or a crown which is going well in order to benefit from good raises (on circuit, eh !!!). Because under the Desmo distribution, we did not try to relax.
Strong the twin! But between him and the road, we find a host of intermediaries. Which will delight developers. The clutch now incorporates a dual function, anti-dribbling and assistance. What to reduce the effort to the lever and to digest the muscular downshifts. Then, it is the electronics which take care of the grain. Three driving modes are on the menu, each with preset settings on the various on-board guardrails. Race, Sport, or Rain, the Panigale fits into the mood of the moment. The right hand moves, the silicon chips move. The DTC traction control acts on 8 intervention levels, the EBC engine brake on 3, the Bosch 9MP ABS is also governed by 3 modes, and the dashboard display changes according to the Riding Mode chosen. To perfect your style or your level of requirement, these can be fine-tuned by the user. Note that the available power differs depending on the mode: 157 horsepower for Race and Sport, 115 for Rain mode.
The 959 Panigale retains the in-house DQS shifter, which can be used on upshifts but not yet on downshifts. Only the different versions of the big Panigale (1299 – 1299 S – R) have the privilege of it in Bologna. As an option, the DDA + allows you to rack your brains after session with a good telemetry salad with GPS.
Since the 899 Panigale, the 959 has gained heart … and weight. 7 kilos is no small thing. But where does this fat come from, in a category where the hunt for weight is a priority? The double silencer is already there for a lot. Not enough to significantly change the behavior or the liveliness of the machine. And then, 200 kilos all full, we have seen worse.
Side chassis and peripherals, the essential does not change. Around the singular aluminum frame-shell are fixed a Showa BPF inverted fork with large 43 mm piston and a Sachs shock absorber in the lateral position. The elements are of course fully adjustable. The changes made are on the side of the wheelbase, increased by 5 mm (1426 -> 1431), and the anchor point of the swingarm, lowered by 4 mm. These modifications should optimize the traction and stability of the Panigale. However, combined with the machine’s weight gain, the rider will have to exert more effort to engage the machine..
Braking is also fully taken from the 899. 320 mm wafers and Brembo M4.32 4-piston calipers for the front, a 245 mm disc and a 2-piston caliper at the rear. Serious stuff, however a little notch below what larger engines can offer at Ducati. No M50 for the little … uh, the average Panigale yet; worry little prejudicial, because the stuff is already doing a hell of a job.
It’s time to put on the boots, and see that the footrests now offer more grip; from the pestilence to the end of the growths. Still as sporty and even more powerful, the youngest of the Panigales is more like an 899 Evo than a completely new machine. However, the consequent increase in displacement justifies a new name. Racy, technological, exciting, it is being refused some exclusives to contain its price and preserve the prestige of the hypersports of the range. No single-sided arm, no up / down shifter, no UMI inertial platform, no wheeling control and no TFT color dashboard … and almost 5,000 euros less. It also allows you to appropriate the Panigale fantasy without going through the lumberjack box claimed by the 1299. Less missile, sporty at will, it allows you to drive hard without getting overwhelmed all the time..
What you must remember
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959 PANIGALE 2016
Model marketed in
medium: 5.60 l
about 270 km / h
The technical aspect
Ducati 959 PANIGALE 2017
- Tank: 17 liters
- Width: 746 mm
- Height: 1115 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,431 mm
- Dry weight: 176 kg
- Weight in running order: 200 kg
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(100 x 60.8 mm)
at 10,500 rpm
at 9000 rpm