No question about the star of the 2011 EICMA Milan Show, Ducati‘s new 1199 Panigale.
The engine alone has enough new technology for its own feature Ducati Panigale Engine Tech, but in summary, it‘s a 192bhp (195PS, 143.5kW) ultra-short stroke 90-degree V-twin of 1199cc, which revs out beyond 11,000rpm.
The motor is entirely new, Ducati‘s first clean sheet design since the 851 in 1988, although it does adhere to Ducati‘s trademark layout and include desmodromic valves.
Three versions of the bike are available, the base 1199, the high spec 1199 S and the top of the range 1199 Tricolore, a celebration of Italy‘s 150th anniversary.
The chassis though shows Ducati‘s commitment to high performance above all else, as the traditional steel trellis frame has been dropped in favour of an aluminium monocoque which doubles up as the airbox and additionally acts as a component of the fuel tank. Engine designer Marco Sauri says traditions are adhered to where possible but the company won‘t let them get in the way of progress, and with the target figures of 192bhp and a 22lb (10kg) weight reduction to achieve, the trellis frame was dismissed early in discussions. The new chassis design is credited with the loss of 9.3lb (4.2kg).
The rear subframe is also aluminium while the headlamp and fairing support is magnesium, helpding shed another 2.2lb (1kg),. The light itself is the first LED headlight to be used on a production motorcycle, its advantages being much less bulk than a conventional one and substantially lower heat generation, and that‘s aside from looking impossibly cool.
The fuel tank size is 3.75 gallons (17 litres, 4.5 gallons US), which should be more useful than the notoriously small 1198 tank. The bike is unlikely to be especially economical though as Ducati has got around the combustion problems associated with an extremely wide bore by enrichening the mixture, then burning off excess fuel via an air bleed into the exhaust.
Component manufacturers have all played their part in pushing technology forward. The rear 200/55 Pirelli Diable Super Corsa is a new size with a revised profile just for the 1199, claimed to put more rubber on the road at extreme lean angles, while the front brake is a new Monobloc design from Brembo called the M50, which is both lighter and stronger than the old Monobloc - total front weight reduction is 0.5kg.
The swingarm is longer than the 1199‘s and is controlled via a linkage system which can be adjusted to alter the suspension action. It can be set to give progressive movement for road use but a more linear action which is better for the track.
Inevitably the suspension itself on the 1199 S is onboard adjustable Öhlins, as pioneered on the Multistrada, although the spring preload adjustment is manual, to save weight. The 1199 gets pressurised Marzocchi forks and a Sachs rear shock, all fully adjustable manually.
The rear suspension sits on the left side of the bike to make room for the rear cylinder head - the engine is tilted 6 degrees further back than the 1198‘s, and it‘s this which facilitates easy adjustment of the shock and linkage.
The brakes comfully or the rear only if required, for drifting into corners. It also has rear wheel lift detection, and is fully integrated into the bike‘s comprehensive electronic systems. ABS is an option on the 1199, standard on the other versions.
There are three riding modes, the same in principle as the Multistrada‘s four. These are Race, Sport and Wet, and each simultaneously alters the characteristics of the power delivery, ABS, suspension settings, traction control (which has eight levels of intervention) and a new feature, the quick shift gear change system, the display of the full colour TFT dash and the Engine Brake Control (EBC).
This last feature monitors the deceleration of the crankshaft as well as throttle position and engine revs, and if it decides this is too great, ie wheel lock-up is about to happen, it automatically opens the throttle slightly to compensate. This works in conjunction with the bike‘s slipper clutch.
TFT made its debut on the Diavel as well as BMW‘s K1600 machines, although the 1199‘s is larger.
UK prices are:
£14,995 for the 1199
£15,750 for the 1199 with ABS
£19,750 for the 1199 S
£23,495 for the Tricolore
Availability: March 2012
Based on the Diavel Carbon with even more carbon, a different exhaust, wheels and AMG badges to mark Ducati‘s joint marketing venture with the German Mercedes tuner. See news feature here
A gloss black and chrome version of the spectacular Diavel, with other unique detailing such as the transverse seat stitching. Price is £15,295.
Streetfighter 848 - see the full review here
848 Evo Corse Special Edition
A tasty red, white and black Ducati Corse colour scheme for the 848 Evo is supported by Ducati‘s 8-level traction control and quick shift gear changing. Suspension is by Öhlins front and rear.
Price is £11,995 and the bike becomes available in January 2012.
Kevin's funeral was held on Thursday 28th February 2013 and was well attended by family, friends and colleagues.
The Telegraph has very kindly established The Telegraph Kevin Ash Fund to assist with the education of Kevin's three daughters.
If you'd like to make a donation then you can use the PayPal 'Donate' button below which will allow you to donate from your PayPal account, or via credit or debit card. A small percentage (about 3.4%) will be retained by PayPal for the service.
Kevin's family have been touched by the generosity and messages of support from people using the website and would like to express their gratitude to those who have contributed in any way.
The donations keep coming in, thank you so much, and the family especially like it when you leave a message.