Ducati has announced its much anticipated new Superbike model, the 1199 Panigale, will compete in the World Superbike Championship, but not until the 2013 season.
Ahead of the bike's official launch at the EICMA International Bike Show at Milan in November, Ducati confirmed the latest iteration of its twin-cylinder machine will be known as 1199 Panigale in a nod to the manufacturer's Bologna base.
Spy shots and teasers of the machine have been apparent in the press for months, but it remained unclear whether the manufacturer – which pulled its factory WSBK involvement at the end of 2010 – would conduct a full return to Superbike racing in 2012 with the new machine.
Now, Ducati has announced it will persevere with the current 1198, which is currently leading the standings with Carlos Checa and Althea Racing, into 2012, with a view to returning in 2013, most likely as a full manufacturer effort once again.
In the meantime, the 1199 Panigale will still be seen on the international motorsport stage in 2012 with an FIM Superstock 1000 entry, Ducati seeing it as an opportunity to finely tune the bike.
“Developed as a true sport bike with competition in its DNA, the Ducati 1199 Panigale will first see racing action in the 2012 FIM Superstock Championship and, in accordance with the factory's development program, make its debut in World Superbike in 2013,” read an official Ducati press release.
“The two-stage introduction enables Ducati additional development for the Superbike version of the 1199 Panigale, appropriate to the more open regulations of the World Superbike category, and in addition help control costs for World Superbike teams who can continue to compete with a 2012 version of the 1198 with technical support from Ducati Engineers.”
As well as leading the Superbike standings, Ducati is dominating the Superstock series, with Davide Giugliano and Lorenzo Baroni both having tested the new 1199 in preparation for 2012.
Full details of the 1199 Panigale, which has been developed with input from Troy Bayliss, will be revealed at its launch.