First Impressions: Ducati 959 Panigale

By Marc Potter
marcpotter Tested every new bike since 1994, loves anything on two wheels, runs Potski Media, ex-BikeSocial boss. Recently discovered elbow-down riding - likely to end in tears.

Bike Social's Marc Potter is at the world riding launch in Valencia

Ducati's new 959 Panigale features a new 955cc V-twin motor and weighs in at 176kg dry. Ducati describe it as the perfect compromise. Bike Social's Marc Potter is at the world launch in Valencia to ride it. Here are his first impressions:

We’ve just had our first session in Valencia and while it’s still early days and we’re still figuring out where the track goes, you can already feel that the bike wants hold a really tight line through Valencia's tight and twisty corners. 

Out of the three riding modes we were in ‘Sport’ for the first session, meaning traction control is on level 5 (out of 8) and even with sticky Pirelli Diablo Rosso  Corsa tyres the traction control is coming in quite a lot on the exit of corners.

Bike Social's Marc Potter heads out onto the Valencia GP track for his first session on the 959 Panigale

You can feel the potential in the chassis and the bike with more to come when we play with the settings a little later on and go into race mode. 

Ducati say it’s a super-mid entry-level sports bike in their range, but we’re dealing with a bike that’s almost a 1000cc V-Twin, which 20 years ago was the top of Ducati’s range but now with an even better chassis, braking and state of the art electronics.

It may be a lot of money at £13,095 but the 959 Panigale feels special and unlike some of the current 200bhp 1000cc superbikes which command massive respect, the 959 feels like you can grab it by the balls and make the most of each one of those 157bhp. 

SECOND SESSION

In the second session we stuck it in race mode, which turns down a lot of the electronics. This allows you to actually feel the chassis of the bike without the electronics numbing it like they did on road mode.

You have to ride the bike very differently to a 1299, big corner speed on the way in and mid-corner and trust the rear tyre and electronics on the way out.

Those exhausts might be controversial but you can get big lean angles and it feels stable mid-corner, now the electronics are dumbed down it feels much more lively and precise. The traction control lets the bike move around at the rear but not alarmingly. 

Stay tuned for the full the full review coming soon.

The new Panigale 959 sits in the pits at Mugello. We're riding it at Valencia but thought you wouldn't mind as this pic is so awesome!


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