At the moment the smaller 959 Panigale is unique among Ducati sports bikes because it’s only offered as a single model. But in 2018 a higher-spec 959 Panigale Corse version will join the range.
The bike’s existence has emerged from new American emissions homologation documents published by the EPA. They list the 959 Panigale Corse alongside the normal 959 Panigale as a 2018 model.
The document quotes the bike’s power as 111kW (151hp), saying its specification is the same as the normal 2018 959 Panigale. The figure is fractionally lower than Ducati’s claimed 115.5kW (157hp) for the existing American-spec 959 Panigale, but actually matches the homologated figure for the 2017 bike. European-spec 959 Panigales have only 110kW thanks to their larger exhaust pipes and Euro4-certified engines. The emissions document says that the engine has been recertified for 2018, but not modified.
It’s not certain there will also be a European-spec 959 Panigale Corse, but it seems likely.
So what toys will the Panigale Corse get?
While 959 Panigale Corse will have the same power as the base model, it’s likely to be lighter and better-specified. Ducati has used the ‘Corse’ name for high-end, limited production models in the past. These have included the 1198 S Corse and the 848 Evo Corse. On those bikes, improvements included an aluminium fuel tank and better suspension.
With the larger 1299 Panigale entering the final year of its life in 2018, the 959 is likely to soon represent Ducati’s top V-twin sports bike. At the moment, it’s only available with a combination of Showa forks and a Sachs shock. The Panigale Corse will surely replace these with Ohlins items.
Previous Corse models have had distinctive red, white and black paintwork, with exposed aluminium on the fuel tank. It would be no surprise to see the 959 Panigale Corse follow the same pattern.