FIRST RIDE: TRACK TEST DUCATI 899 PANIGALE

DUCATI MALAYSIA had local motorcycle media all excited to test ride the new 899 Panigale at Sepang International Circuit just after Asia Ducati Week 2014 (ADW2014). And boy was I excited. Ironically my last ride on a Ducati in Sepang International Circuit was was back in October 2012 which was the 1199 Panigale.

IMG_8367 (Medium)At first glance the 899 Panigale looks similar to the 1199 except the 899 features a dual-sided conventional swingarm.

IMG_8378 (Medium)According to Ducati: “The brand new Superquadro engine features a revised bore and stroke for a broad power delivery, producing 148hp (109kW) with a torque of 73lb-ft (10.1kgm). The super-smooth power unit continues to be a fully stressed member of the innovative Panigale monocoque construction, achieving both an outstanding power-to-weight ratio and ride-enhancing agility with a dry weight of 169kg (372.5lb). An 1199 silhouette underlines the family DNA, while the fully integrated Riding Mode technology of Ride-by-Wire, triple stage ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), quickshifter and Engine Brake Control (EBC), continues the benchmark ingenuity introduced with the award-winning Panigale.”

The 899 Panigale’s bore and stroke is 100 x 57.2mm (as opposed to the 1199 Panigale’s 112 x 60.8mm), it also features a wet clutch and front and rear ABS as standard. The wet weight is a claimed 193kg.

The new 899 Panigale features 43mm fully-adjustable Showa BPF front forks and a fully-adjustable Sachs rear shock and 10-spoke light allow wheels, 3.5″ front and 5.5″ rear. The tank size is quoted as being 17-litres.

Taking advantage of its new, lower power output to sharpen up the chassis with a shorter wheelbase, steeper forks and a narrower rear tire. Take out some of the bling — the single-sided swingarm, LED headlamps and TFT dash and assembly in Thailand in the name of bringing down the costing to bikers across Asia.IMG_8300 (Medium)

IMG_8368-MediumThe idea is to offer riders the highlights of the Panigale package — its “frameless” design, futuristic styling and “Superquadro” V-Twin — without the intimidating, often unusable power and all the compromises that go with it.

From 1199 to 899, bore and stroke shrink from 112 x 60.8 mm to 100 x 57.2 mm. That has the effect of reducing power from 195 to 148 bhp and torque from 98.1 to 73 lb.-ft.. Importantly, the 899’s less over-square dimensions shift the torque curve down the rev range, giving you more bottom and mid-range to work. The smaller motor is actually the more flexible of the two, delivering something much closer to the traditional Ducati V-twin grunt.

From 1199 to 899, the wheelbase also shrinks from 1,437 to 1,426 mm, rake goes from 24.5 to 24 degrees and trail is subsequently reduced from 100 to 96mm. Perhaps more noticeably, the rear tire narrows from the 1199’s 200/55-17 item to a much more reasonable 18/60-17 item. Those wheels now wear the more everyday, road-oriented Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa rather than the 1199’s more track-focused Diablo Supercorsa Sps.

899 Panigale_RC Moto (i-moto.com.my’s test rider #1) feedback:“With a traction control, ABS, EBC & a standard quick-shifter, this 899 improved better than the 848. I know 899 is not as sexy as the 1199 because of the single swing-arm but it can be the next track weapon. Ignore the small 148hp, it stills can pull like an animal from 6000rpm to the redline from the all-new Superquadra engine.”  Race mode strightline speed 248kmh. But if really want to go for track day, recommended to swap the stock Pirelli Diablo Rosso’s to Diable Supercorsa SC2, as powering out of turn 9, would likely to have a nice controlabe supermoto slide on the the stock tyres. Kneedown rating: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 4.5/5 899 Panigale_3

Timothy (i-moto.com.my’s test rider #2) feedback: “I personally love the 899. It is more friendly and easier to ride than the 1199. The suspensions (Showa front, Sachs rear) are superb. It will definitely both works on the road and track.” I didn’t get to play with the three rider modes: Race, Sport and Wet under the hot blazing sun but using the Sport mode immediately gave us the “goose bump” on the straight line of Sepang International Circuit at 240kmh-impressive!!

GoPro View_2Mr Kwang (Ducati Dealer) feedback: “Agile handling, and lightweight. Impressive brakes. Smile on his face, when he said all that”.

The Ducati 899 Panigale is CKD in Thailand and base bike price is RM93,888 (excluding the insurance/roadtax & etc) at any Ducati authorized dealers.

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