Motorcycle Features

Ducati’s 1000th podium in WSBK


Race One of the Czech Round in July 2022 is destined to be remembered by motorcycle racing enthusiasts, as Alvaro Bautista on his Ducati Panigale V4 R notched up the thousandth podium for Ducati in the Superbike World Championship.



The 1000-podium mark achieved by the Borgo Panigale manufacturer in WorldSBK represents a unique result, never achieved by any manufacturer in any motorcycle discipline. Of the 1000-podium results, 383 were first places.

Six generations of Ducati super sports bikes have competed during 35 years of the World Championship that is reserved for production-based machinery

WorldSBK saw Ducati present and victorious right from the first race in 1988, with Marco Lucchinelli, on the 851, winning at Donington. Only two years later, in 1990, Raymond Roche obtained Ducati’s first world title in Superbike with the 851. 


Raymond Roche – Phil Aynsley photo


In the following two years, Doug Polen replicated the success and Ducati quickly became the most popular bike on the starting grids of the World Championship, winning the manufacturers’ title in 1991, 1992 and 1993. 

The 1994 season marked the beginning of the era of Carl Fogarty and the Ducati 916 that won for two consecutive seasons. 

In 1996 it was Troy Corser who gave a sixth rider’s title to Ducati. 


‘Foggy’ – Phil Aynsley photo


In 1998 and 1999 ‘Foggy’ – Carl Fogarty – won two more titles, becoming the most victorious rider on the Borgo Panigale Superbikes.

In 2000, the baton was handed over to another Ducati legend, Troy Bayliss, who won three titles with the Rosse in Superbike – 2001, 2006, 2008 – becoming the only rider to win on three different generations of Ducati superbikes: the 998, 999 and 1098. 

During Troy’s sojourn in MotoGP, Neil Hodgson and James Toseland won in 2003 and 2004.

In 2011, Carlos Checa took the championship title win on the 1198.

Many other riders have contributed to the Superbike legend, with victories and podiums that have helped to engrave their names in the memory of Ducati enthusiasts: Giancarlo Falappa; Fabrizio Pirovano, Pierfrancesco Chili, Ben Bostrom, Ruben Xaus, Regis Laconi, Noriyuki Haga, Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Scott Redding and many others.



Six generations of Ducati Superbikes

The history of Ducati Superbikes parallels that of WorldSBK. The 851, born as a 748 cc prototype from the minds of Massimo Bordi and Gianluigi Mengoli on the basis of Ducati’s technical cornerstones – L-twin cylinder, desmodromic distribution, trellis frame – was the first Ducati Superbike, powered by the new Desmoquattro four-valve per cylinder engine. 


The 851 and the Desmoquattro


Raymond Roche – Phil Aynsley photo


The displacement was boosted to 888 cubic centimetres with a bore increase. The model changed its name in 1992, adapting to the new cubature. For many enthusiasts it was with the 851 that the Ducati of the modern era was born.

In total, the 851/888 family picked up three riders’ titles – 1990 with Raymond Roche, 1991 and 1992 with Doug Polen – and three manufacturers’ titles – 1991, 1992 and 1993. From 1990 to 1994, it scored 78 wins and 170 podiums.



The 916 and ‘Foggy’



In October 1993, Ducati presented the 916 that was lean, nimble and powerful, with lines drawn by Massimo Tamburini – also known as ‘Maestro’. With a completely revised chassis and highly-evolved Desmoquattro twin-cylinder, the 916 dominated all the formulae in which it raced. Its form-follows-function DNA is discernible in the Panigale.

In 1998 Ducati launched the 996 and the 996 R made its debut in 2001, powered by the first 998 cc Testastretta, whose heirs can be found today in the twin-cylinder Ducati range. 

In 2002 the 996 gave way to the 998. In its standard version, the Ducati Superbike went from 114 horsepower of the first 916 to 123hp of the 998.

The Ducati 916 was the most successful of the Ducati SBKs and between 1994 and 2003, with its 916, 996 and 998 versions, it won eight world titles, including four with ‘King’ Carl Fogarty; won 122 races and took its riders to the podium on 311 occasions. 

The 996 R was the model with which the career in red of Troy Bayliss, the other great Ducati Superbike legend, began.



Domination of the 999


Troy Bayliss – Phil Aynsley photo


The 999 arrived in 2003, with ground-breaking lines, an evolved version of the Testastretta and a heavily revised chassis. It no longer had a single-sided swing-arm and the under-seat exhaust was integrated into a single silencer. 

The 999 Superbike achieved the highest victories/seasons ratio: in just five years it achieved 63 victories and three world titles with Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and Troy Bayliss. Its riders stepped onto the podium 163 times.



The 1098 and 1198


Troy Bayliss – Phil Aynsley photo


In 2008, the regulations allowed twin-cylinder engines to exceed the one-litre displacement limit. Ducati had presented the 1098 already in November 2006, continuing many of the stylistic and technical elements of the 998, and the single-sided swing-arm and split under-seat exhaust were back.

The twin-cylinder increased in power up to 160hp and, updated with technical solutions derived from the MotoGP bike, it took the name of Testastretta Evoluzione.

The 1198 arrived in 2009, with 170hp and electronic traction control. It took the 2011 title, won by the Spaniard Carlos Checa.

The 1098 and 1198 scored 139 podiums between 2008 and 2012, including 52 victories.



The Panigales arrive



In 2012 came the Panigale family, which established new benchmarks in terms of technology, style and performance. With the Panigale, Ducati introduced the 90-degree V-twin Superquadro engine with desmodromic valves, mixed chain/gear train, ride-by-wire engine management, Öhlins electronic suspension, and an aluminium monocoque frame with integrated airbox. 

The Panigale family was recognised as a work of art and awarded the Compasso d’Oro in 2014.

The Panigale 1299 evolution in 2015 was another step forward, but the ‘R’ version was the Panigale 1199 R, with the displacement of the racing model remaining linked to the regulatory limit.

At the end of 2017, a revolutionary Panigale arrived, preceded by the presentation of its V4 Desmosedici Stradale engine. The Ducati Panigale V4 was powered by the 90-degree V4 with MotoGP-derived Twinpulse timing and counter-rotating crankshaft. It was capable of 214 horsepower and 128Nm for a power/weight ratio of 1.1hp/kg.

The new chassis was the ‘Front Frame’, which continued to use the engine as a stressed element. 

With the 2020 model came an aerodynamic package incorporating the winglets introduced by Ducati for the first time in MotoGP in 2016. The 2021 version had refined electronics. 

The 2022 model moved the performance bar upwards, with more sophisticated electronic management, stiffer chassis, ratios borrowed from the Panigale V4 R and a more efficient aerodynamic package.

As at mid-2022 the Panigale family has notched up a total of 219 podiums over the course of its 10 years of racing competition, including 70 victories.

As good as the Panigale family is on paper it hadn’t had much success against Kawasaki, with Jonathan Rea in the saddle, until 2022. ‘Kwaka’ dominated WSBK in the 2013-2020 years and Rea became the most-winning WSBK rider ever.




Raymond Roche – Phil Aynsley photo


In 35 years of World Superbike, Ducati has scored 383 wins and 1000 podiums. Ducati has won 14 Superbike riders’ and 17 manufacturers’ titles. The most successful riders on Ducati Superbikes are Carl Fogarty (55 wins), Troy Bayliss (52) and Chaz Davies (28).

The most successful bike was the 916/996/998, with 120 wins, followed by the 851/888 with 78 and the Panigale/Panigale V4 with 70.

Riders’ Championship record: 1990 851 Raymond Roche; 1991 888 Doug Polen; 1992 888 Doug Polen; 1994 916 Carl Fogarty; 1995 916 Carl Fogarty; 1996 916 Troy Corser; 1998 916 Carl Fogarty; 1999 996 Carl Fogarty; 2001 996R Troy Bayliss; 2003 999F03 Neil Hodgson; 2004 999F04 James Toseland; 2006 999F06 Troy Bayliss; 2008 1098F08 Troy Bayliss and 2011 1198F11 Carlos Checa.

In mid-2022, Bautista was leading the WSBK riders’ championship, with a good chance of breaking Ducati’s 11-year drought.

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