By Jonathan Welsh
Motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding SpA revealed the engine that will power
its next-generation superbike, the 1199 Panigale. The power plant’s debut comes
a month before Ducati plans to unveil the entire bike, during the EICMA
International Motorcycle Show in Milan, which runs Nov. 10-13.
What stands out most about the new motor, called the Superquadro, is the
power it generates from just two cylinders. Ducati says the engine can put out
195 horsepower, what it calls “an absolute production twin-cylinder
The company says with the Superquadro it has increased power and torque while
making the engine lighter, more user-friendly and easier to maintain. The new
bike will use engine-control electronics to allow the rider to adjust power
to suit a variety of street and track riding conditions.
Most of the premiere high-performance sport motorcycles from rivals like
Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki have four-cylinder engines that have largely
outperformed two-cylinder “twins” and left them in their wake. But Ducati might
lose its following if it switched from its long-standing 90-degree L-twin
design, so it is under constant pressure to improve its performance.
Like other makers, Ducati is judged in part on how well its production bikes
perform in national and international superbike competition. This type of racing
is especially popular among riding enthusiasts because the racing bikes are
based on showroom models and are easily recognizable. The Italian company has a
history of success in superbike racing that has been an integral part of its
marketing program for decades.
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