For the past few years, the collective motorcycling world has lost its minds with the Ducati Panigale V4. Understandable, considering how much of a departure it is for Ducati to abandon the V-Twin for its flagship sportbike, but also because the Panigale V4 and V4R are absolute knockouts in the engine department. Lost in the hoopla of the Ducati V4 engine sat the lowly 959 Panigale, a pleasant and capable machine, it serves as a gentle reminder to everyone that Ducati hadn’t completely abandoned the V-Twin. A part of the “Super-Mid” category of sportbikes (“Standard-Mid” being something in the 750cc-ish category, we assume?), it’s a little funny to think Ducati’s lower-displacement sportbike, at 955cc, is now larger than it’s former legendary flagship, the 916 family.
Let’s be honest – it doesn’t really matter what the words in this week’s Church feature are all about. You came here to look at the pictures. Understandable, considering the Ducati 916 body style is one of the most iconic shapes in motorcycling history. Unfortunately, this review of the 2002 Ducati 998 was filed back when MO was under different ownership and stored under different servers. The original pics have been lost to the internet gods who feast upon early digital photos, hence the small pics we’ve got here. We’re sorry about that, but there’s nothing we can do about it.
In the presentation for the 959, Ducati described its new bike as having “perfect balance,” which is a descriptor I immediately dismissed as pure PR speak. After all, every OEM would want to say that about one of its new products, but after having spun laps on the latest Panigale at the Ricardo Tormo MotoGP circuit, I’m becoming a believer in this Italian balancing act.