2016 Ducati 959 Panigale First Ride Review

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By Tom Montano; Photography courtesy of Ducati

Ducati has been on the gas lately, the Italian manufacturer introducing a total of nine (yes, nine) new models at the 2015 EICMA show held this past November in Milan, Italy. Among the more notable bikes from that mass unveiling was the Scrambler Sixty2, Multistrada Pike’s Peak, Hypermotard 939, and this, the 959 Panigale, which only a few days after the show I had the chance to ride during a one-day test at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo.

Is bigger really better, and can you actually call a 955cc twin a supermid? I was about to learn the answer to at least one of those questions.

New Bike, New Bits

The 959 gets some aerodynamic upgrades such as a wider front fairing and taller and wider windscreen. Mirrors (removed for the track test) are also like the ones on the 1299, with shorter stalks than before Overall, it’s pretty hard to disagree with the bike’s looks.

Just as it did in 2015 with the 1299 Panigale, Ducati has upped the ante in 2016 with the “smaller” Panigale, giving the previous 899 the same stroke measurement as the 1299 to create the new 959 Panigale.

Looking at the other updates, they are minimal but important, with the engine’s slight increase in stroke from 57.2mm to 60.8mm necessitating a new crankshaft and connecting rods. The piston crowns are slightly different, while strict Euro 4 noise emissions standards required the fitment of a different exhaust system with dual mufflers on the right side (thankfully absent from US models), as well as a ribbing on the cylinder heads and valve covers, and a different cam chain. Exhaust diameter …read more

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