Despite the woes of parent company VAG (aka VW) Ducati are lining up for 2016 filled with confidence. There are those who expect VAG to have to sell of at least one brand after the defeat-device scandal (now extended to petrol engines) with Porsche tipped to be the first to go. Let's hope Ducati gets left in peace so they can build on their current success.
First of Ducati's nine new 2016 models has been spotted by Italian mag Motociclismo. It’s a learner legislation friendly 400 L-twin Scrambler. Not a single as some predicted, but most of us know that would be far more expensive to put into production than a revived version of the 400 L-twin that was available for the Japanese market as the six speed F3. Picture shows cost cutting in the swingarm and lack of tank panel, but what did you expect? Smaller holes in the barrels don't save any cash.
On my visit to the US some very well connected folk expected a new V4 - a limited edition model as a sort of lower spec Desmosedici, since collectors are already pushing up the price of the originals. There was a time when £25,000 would have secured you one, but Ducati must have noticed how prices have rebounded and how well the limited run Superleggera L-twin sold. A new V4 wouldn't be aimed at racing however, a job firmly left to the Panigale.
And after John Hopkins and Moto Rapido showed that the Panigale can be competitive in British Superbike racing, next season Ducati are looking to win the title. Paul Bird Motorsport will contest the 2016 races with Panigale Rs, fielding four-time BSB champion Shakey Byrne alongside Glenn Irwin. These are not folk used to doing the best they can given their budget - these are people used to winning, and with direct support from Ducati Corse we'll hope they can.
It's also great that Ducati haven't used this as an excuse to leave Moto Rapido out in the cold, but will continue supporting Wilf and his team. No word on riders yet, but be nice if Hopper stays on board.