The Ducati 1199 Panigale debut two years ago was a revolution in the superbike class but one limited by price. The real question is, how do you bring the revolution to the largest number of potential owners? Not so long ago, the Italian company revealed the Ducati 899 Panigale that expresses CEO Claudio Domenicali's underlying aim: to produce the affordable exotic. The Ducati 899 Panigale is still not officially released in Thailand so we have to hope that the Ducati 899 Panigale will hit that target.
A bore and stroke of 100 x 57.2mm equals 898.49cc; this is a very oversquare engine, the bore to stroke ratio is 1.75, hence the engine's descriptor: 'Superquadro.' For comparison, the Ducati 1199 Panigale is 112 x 60.8mm. This 90-degree liquid-cooled V-twin is claimed to make 148 horsepower at 10,740rpm, with peak torque of 99Nm (10.1kgm) at 9,000rpm.
Four valves per cylinder are driven by Ducati's traditional desmodromic system. Remember the short service intervals of some earlier Ducati motorcycles? Ducati engineered a 24,000 kilometer service interval for the Ducati 899 Panigal. Much is shared with the Ducati 1199 Panigal, such as the close-ratio six-speed gearbox, all-plain-bearing rods and mains, and the use of a racing-type, large-volume oil scavenge pump, which pulls crankcase pressure well below atmospheric, as is done on Formula 1 car engines. Cams are, as on the 1199 Panigal, driven by a combination of chain and gear.
In place of Ducati's more typical Marelli fuel system, the single-injector-per-cylinder system on the Ducati 899 Panigal comes from Mitsubishi.
As with the 1199 Panigal, a die-cast aluminum monocoque frame / airbox connects the engine to the front wheel, plus a likewise die-cast double-sided swingarm combines to give a wheelbase 1,426mm, which is 11mm shorter than the 1199 Panigale, and a frond and rear weight distribution of 52 and 48. These cast chassis and engine parts are produced by the Ritter Vacural process, which produces properties more like those of forging. The aim of all such vacuum processes is to prevent major contaminants such as oxides from acting as sites of weakness.