Spy Photo: 2012 Ducati Superbike

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Italian magazine MotoSprint managed to snag this image of the 2012 Ducati Superbike as it tested alongside the Ducati GP12 at Mugello last week. Immediately striking is the machine’s diminutive size. Liter bikes the size of 600s have become somewhat normal, but this thing looks about as big as a 250. There’s also a horizontal shock, a very long single-sided swingarm and not an awful lot of room for a pillion. This was a test of an SBK-spec racer, not the production bike, indicating that Ducati will re-enter the series with the new bike next year.

Update: to put the size of this bike in perspective, Danilo Petrucci, the test rider, is 5′ 11″ tall.

Rumors have been swirling surrounding the “Superquadrata” or “Super Square” for some time now, with most simply indicating that Ducati will be doing what’s necessary to make a competitive superbike these days. Over the now rather uncompetitive 170bhp, 171kg (dry) 1198, expect 20 or so more horsepower, 20 or so less kilograms and a whole bunch of electronics like traction and wheelie control.

That horizontal shock isn’t without precedent. The 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R uses a similar arrangement, which is claimed to improve cooling and smooth action throughout the shock’s stroke.

The long swingarm will help aid traction, something a bike this powerful, light and so incredibly small is going to need.

We also see a GP-style exhaust peaking out on the right side of the rear wheel and an apparent absence of Ducati’s traditional steel trellis frame. The latter is impossible to definitively state due to the camo, but previous speculation and rumor has indicated that this new bike could adopt the Desmosedici’s carbon monocoque arrangement. Hopefully without that bike’s chatter.

More as we get it.

MotoSprint via Visordown

  • Noah

    With a bike so small that riding position looks about as comfortable as lunch with Larry David.

    • Thom

      Aint about comfort . Its ALL about speed with this one !

    • Dumptruckfoxtrot

      That’s true, but comfort isn’t generally factored into race bikes.

  • http://www.ClevelandCycleWerks.com scottydigital

    For a guy like me 5’6″, this is welcome. My current 749s is just a bit too big on the track. My knees get planted on the bottom of the tank because me leg boner is just not long enough. I would love a new mid weight race bike that is just a wee bit smaller. :)

    • Taco

      My dream come true: liter bike power + 250 size bike = boner
      I’m even loving the duct taped fairings.

    • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut

      … We saw the new bike during the dealer meeting last year, but they didn’t allow anyone to get close to it, let alone touch it. It had full plastics on it and everything, but didn’t look ANYTHING like that. That camo shit works! That or Ducati changed their minds as to what the 2012 is going to look like…

      • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut
      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Yeah, we’ve spoken to a few people that were at that meeting. Sounds like it’s going to be an awesome bike.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

    It’s about time some photos leaked! It’s tiny, but I’ll find a way to get my 6’3″ frame on there. Looks very similar to the RSV4, but the foot pegs are much lower. I’m excited for new 2012 bikes!

  • eric

    Is the future of Mc racers 4 ft tall jockeys?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Isn’t that the present of MC racers?

    • robotribe

      That’s exactly why I’m a moto racing fan. These are athletes I can look in the eye without a stepladder.

      • Thom

        Well heck you must love F1 as well ! Lets face it . When it comes to M/C or Open Wheel car racing its the Munchkins that rule the roost .

        Guess thats OK . You short people gotta have some reason to get up in the morning :o)

        • robotribe

          This, and roominess no matter what seat we get on an airplane.

          • KP

            That is NOT a laughing matter. :(

            • Thom

              Well ……… you’re right …. but you’re wrong ….. but …. well …

              ” Short people got no reason to live ”

              to quote Randy Newman . :o)

            • robotribe

              Yeah, hence the hesitance in applying smiley face at the end of the comment.

              Then again, I hate the fact that I loved the the old VFR800 but felt distanced by it by the fact that I felt like a human riding an elephant on it.

    • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

      Apparently not made for Michael Jordan and I…

    • Sean Smith

      Why does everyone think racers are all short? Rossi is 1/4″ short of 6′ and weighs 150 lbs. Ben Spies is 5’11″ and 160. Just tall lanky guys with no fat and not a lot of time with weights. I’m built about the same.

      • Thom

        Dang ! Munchkins don’t rule the roost . Had no idea Rossi was that tall .

        Tall skinny guys rule !

        Guess all the jockeys went to F1 after all .

  • Mike Brooklyn

    Why is no-one considering the obvious answer here, they simply hired a 7ft tall rider to take it out on the track…

    • Dr. Gellar

      Isn’t that Rossi on the bike?

      • Thom

        Nope ; That’d be Danilo Petrucci !

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Nope, Danilo Petrucci. I’m trying to find out how tall he is.

        • Dr. Gellar

          Ooops…my bad.

        • Thom

          I got nothing Wes . Even poked around the Italian press .

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            Spoke to Danilo, he’s 5′ 11″.

            • Thom

              Molto grazzi !

            • Taco

              You spoke directly with Danilo, cool. Who else you got in your phone book? Could you call Danica Patrick for me and tell her I love her too much?

              • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                Eww, no. I’m sure you can do better than Danica.

                • Taco

                  the heart wants what the heart wants. ♥

              • Thom

                Good God ! Danica ??? Really ?

                We got to have a word or two with you Taco :o)

                As Wes says below , you can do a whole lot better.

                ( trust me , take away the Sherwin & Williams make up job , the expensive cloths and the Photo Shop touch ups ( well more like complete re-do’s ) and you’ll be at Petsmart before you know it )

                Eeesh !

                • Devin

                  omfg Thom, Petsmart!

                  I am using that line on my bud who is digging her.

  • Myles

    Do we have BMW to thank for this? The superbike world has been turned upside-down since the s1k dropped.

    • SodaO

      I doubt it. BMW are no threat to where it matters most to Ducati – racing. Save your gratitude for Aprilia. The BMW had some clever electronics and was a decent road bike. The RSV4 handles like a superbike and now with superior electronics to the BMW even muppets can go fast.

      • Myles

        Ducati is winning in SBK already on an old bike.

        I really don’t think racing has ever mattered the most to Duck, they’ve never performed well at the top level. Didn’t win the top class championship until 2007 ferchissakes. They’ve always been about image, and it’s really hard to maintain an image when you consistently make the slowest open class street bike.

        • Thom

          Huh??? WTF ???

          Ducati not serious about racing ? Please tell me I’m missing out on some online sarcasm .

          If not … well we gotta have a talk as well . There’s a little History you’re missing out on .

          Gotta be sarcasm . Damned internet !

          • Myles

            Harley Davidson has more Grand Prix championships than Ducati. All of Ducks winning in sbk was due to marketing their way to rule changes. They are a marketing company, not a racing company.

            • Thom

              Horse Feathers !

              Ducati has been involved in racing since day one . Has one in multiple venues including Daytona and has a dedicated racing department to handle its current competition involvement .

              I’ll agree like Ferrari Ducati is becoming a sad parody of what it once was ( though no where’s near as bad as Ferrari now is ) but …

              Believe what you will . hate Ducati if you must ( though its kind of like hating Pasta ) But don’t go slamming Ducati’s Racing History till you’ve taken the time and effort ( not Wikipedia which is woefully incomplete ) to do some research .

              But if you do you’ll find Ducati has a long and storied History in racing .

              By the by just when did H-D even compete in World GP ( not the US series ) racing never mind win one ?

              A little History Myles will go a long way . Give it a go .

              • Myles

                Duck is 26th all time (all classes) in MotoGP. You think they’re serious about racing because they have a great marketing team. I’m pretty sure Honda has won over one hundred times as many races as Ducati in motorcycles alone.

                Honda is serious about racing.
                Ducati is serious about fashion, they are the Vespa of motorcycles.

                HD won the 250cc class back to back in 75/76.

                What am I missing about Ducati? That they sell more t-shirts than motorcycles?

                • ike6116

                  75/76, My dad hadn’t even eaten the protein his balls were going to turn me into.

                  I can’t believe you’d slam Ducati for something H-D is probably a million times more guilty of. At least one of the two still competes.

                • Thom


                  You are still in need of a very serious History lesson of which I haven’t got the time or desire to hand out .

                  I KNOW Ducati are serious about racing because of their History not their marketing .

                  But I’m guessing a few Ducati’s have handed you a lesson or two in humility from the tone of your posts

                  Seeing as how you are also the wingnut that gave me a hard time about purchasing the M-B GLK, you might want to have a look into a bit of counseling on that Wallet Envy you’ve got going .

                  But back to that History lesson . If you’re looking at the 250 class you missed that H-D won 74 , 75 , 76 with an Italian built motor and frame as H-D didn’t have a 250 . That was a re-badged Aramichi ! So much for H-D’s Badge Engineering GP Racing . Which I don’t give credit to .

                  Pick up a book now and again . Read the damn things . Then after some Wallet and ( ____ ) Envy Counseling we’ll talk .

                • Thom



                  You might also want to have a look at Honda’s sales . Lo and Behold they sell more T-shirts than M/C’s as well . Kind of the whole idea of merchandising . Selling the Soft Goods ( t-shirts caps etc ) to finance the Hard Goods ( M/C’s and racing )

            • ike6116

              in the past 20 years?

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

        LOL – sounds like I should buy a new RSV4 then!

  • Scott-jay

    Pictured bike is in full brake dive mode.
    Small bikes can be comfortable: Buell XB-R model is small. Its ergos were outstanding; four-hundred-mile-day comfortable to my 6-ft, 185#.

  • BuellDoc

    I was watching world superbike and can’t get past your comment,”Over the now rather uncompetitive 170bhp, 171kg (dry) 1198″ It looks so far in line for the championship and the BMW..way back.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Well, you weren’t watching the 1198 this season…

      Riding the 1198 back to back with superbikes like the MV Agusta F4 and RSV4, it feels, well, slow.

      • Myles

        I hate Ducati more than anyone.

        But they’re in the lead for both manu and rider championships in wsbk. Even though there isn’t a factory team. Riding a 1098R.


        • hooligan317

          Don’t worry, we can tell.

      • JonB

        Agreed. Comparing the 1198 to the WSBK spec racebike is laughable.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      I’ve gotta agree… isn’t it a bit of a sad situation when we’re not even satisfied with a (practically) 1hp per Kg superbike??

      In spite of the advancements made by BMW and Aprilia I remember reading reviews that still praise the 1198 as having more of a ‘proper racebike’ feel, and unless the media has been outright lying, the 1198 has way more in common with the Ducati Superbike than any of the other manufacturers could claim.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Nah, the stock 1198 is just meh next to stuff like the rsv4 and even the f4. No charachter, significantly less power and just a little boring.

        • cookey

          fishing for bites Wes?

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            Not at all, just relating my experience.

            • cookey

              Ducati 1198 has no character?

  • Coreyvwc

    A super bike the same size as my Daytona 675? This is quite exciting for us “European sized” folks. Price it under 15K and I just found my next bike!

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      “European sized” – I love it!

      Next time I need to feel tall, though, I’m heading for Japan.

      • Coreyvwc

        Used to live in JP, only the older generation are stereotypically small. The youngsters are just as oversized as their american counterparts…

  • Duncan

    That short seat unit and the general shape seems to follow the template of the rsv4…maybe someone is keen enough to scale the 16.5″ wheels and work out the overall length.

    I’d hazard a guess that like the Aprilia, it ‘looks’ small but isnt actually that much different from its peers.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Hmm… RSV4 is what I thought straight away.

    But I’ll give a big HELL YES to a new Ducati Superbike… I hope they do it justice – gonna be exciting!

  • Corey

    What a crabby bunch of Ducati haters and midgets. Get it straight, the Japanese make flawless machines that are as durable as they are uninspiring. In my own universe this is good for cars (dumb utility applicances), but boring as hell for motorcycles (soul-stirring wonders of speed, form and impracticality). I drive a Honda Civic and a Subaru Outback because I’m a predictable boring father-type and need cars that are reliable APPLIANCES. I give a shit what they look like (ok can’t look like an Oldsmobile but that is about it). Just need cars that are safe and will go and go and go. Things like bicycles, motorcycles and espresso machines, howver, need to feed my soul (the part that fatherhood hasn’t crushed yet) and must combine badass design, spirit and high-end function that cannot be reduced to the equivalent of a Honda CBR or Civic. Blech. My holy trinity of Italian design are Ducati, Pinarello and Nuova Simonelli. Ya’ll can keep the rest. The new superquadrata looks to be the cat’s ass once again…might have to raid the kids’ college fund.

    • Myles

      You think this way because you have deep ingrained racism in every fiber of your being.

      Italian = FLASHY, fast, SOULFUL
      Japanese = COLD, calculating, EFFICIENT

      Honda has won more races than Ducati has entered. A 13k CBR will spank a 25k 1198superspecialdon’tholdthepasta with equal pilots and tires. Ducati makes t-shirts, Honda makes fucking JETS.

      “Design” is for purses.

      • MotoRandom

        Hard to argue with your impeccable logic there. Clearly Honda is in the business of making superior motorcycles that dominate the competition. Perhaps you could drive your point home by demonstrating how the following Honda motorcycles have ruled on the track and on showroom floor with their practical approach to speed and low cost: The Rune, The Fury, and the DN-01.

        • Myles

          They make everything – lawnmowers, robots, cars, the most internal combustion engines of any manu. . . .

          They also have the most championships in GP, both top class and overall.

          Honda engines have also won in F1, at LeMans (never outright, but victories in class), provide all the engines for Indy, etc, etc, etc.

          Anyone who thinks Ducati is a better racing house than Honda is either an idiot or blinded by marketing.

          • Richard

            Hondas are boring, you know it, I know it, Honda knows it.

            Oh, and I think you need a hug. Very negative posts coming from your keyboard. Especially that crap about racisim. Really?

      • Corey

        This is the second time we’ve had this type of exchange Myles, and I am not interested in having further conversation with you, public or private. Frankly I find you tedious and wonder about the origins of your own intensely personal response to this issue. Perhaps your behavior is an unfortunate characteristic of these forums – normally sane, civil people can snark and insult from behind a keyboard. It sure is easy to troll and insult interlocutors as racists. I hold a PhD in Cultural Studies, I speak 5 languages and am currently editing a book on international motorcycle culture. What is your training? Who are you to attack me with easy obscenity and one-line assertions? Calling me a racist is a dumb, inaccurate and juvenile retort my boy.

        Myles, rde what you like, buy what you like, enjoy your Triumph, which one might also argue is derivative of Japanese design and depends on components and electronics that the British can’t make themselves, or that their almost-as-good products continue to sell not because they are better but because they depend on easy nostalgia, the type you get with a t-shirt purchase or drooling over old pictures of featherbed cafe bikes.

        I happen to enjoy Italian design in particular, and should you want an academic explanation of what makes them of unique mechanical, asethetic and competitive merit, I might begin by tracing the influence and form of Italian motorycle design to the Futurists of the 1920s, and go from there. My other motorcycle, a 1973 BMW R75/5, holds a similar aesthetic relationship to the great Bauhaus movement (also called cold, calculating and efficient). I suppose this makes me a racist.

        As far as Ducati goes, I particularly enjoy the work of designers Pierre Terblanche and Dr. Taglioni. I find the scale of the tiny Borgo Panigale works worth celebrating. It is a small scale operation that builds beautiful motorcycles with literally a thousandth the resources of their major competitors on and off the track. I would recommend you visit Borgo Panigale should you ever make it to Italy. I also enjoy the peculiar features of the desmodromic system, which I’ve learned to maintain myself. Real pleasure for me. Who designed your bike? What makes it worth loking at? Is it a crude means of transportation – like my Honda Civic, or is it something you use for enjoyment? Who penned the latest R1? The massive, bland but extremely capable Japanese designers are uninteresting to me. I can, however, tell you who created my Ducati, and what features are paricular to the model line and the designer responsible for this particular iteration. Most Ducatisti can tell you in great detail what makes their particular model – mechanical and otherwise – particular and enjoyable. And they go like stink and win lots of races. And sell t-shirts. This is a corporatatized milieu, afterall, and you are foolish not to have a better critical appreciation of your relationship to it and position from within as a consumer all wound up by perceived corporate allegiances.

    • dmitry

      awesome reply..I guess there are some of us that use bikes more than cars though and need a reliable day to day ride but still dont want a cbr..in that case I go with suzukis..Yeh they are everywhere but once you ride them you know why..the mad max would have ridden a rattet gsxr.

  • Isaac