This spy photo, hailing from validation tests occurring at Mugello this week, is the clearest we’ve yet seen of the Ducati 1199 — next year’s HiPo, hot shit superbike. While the styling is disguised with ghillie-like camo, mechanical details are readily apparent. Check out that huge exhaust canister under and behind the engine and the curlicue pipe where we’d typically expect a shock. This photo also again emphasizes the diminutive proportions. If Motoblog.it is correct, the rider is again Danilo Petrucci, who tell us he’s 5’ 11” tall. If it's Troy Bayliss, the rider is 5' 8".
It’s probably not a great comparison, but we plugged a 5’ 11” rider and a Ducati 1198 into Cycle-Ergo and came away with this image. To us, it looks like there’s a lot less room between the rider’s hands and knees on the 1199 than there is on the 1198. If the rider is Troy, that dimension becomes even more extreme.
That exhaust loop is likely present to allow Ducati to retain an ideal exhaust length for one of the cylinders even though the distance between engine and canister has drastically shrunk with the new, mass-centralized, under-engine arrangement. The Yamaha YZ450F uses a similar pigtail under its seat. Whether the side-mount, horizontal shock or the curlicue came first is something of a chicken and egg question.
We’re again noticing a tank whose shape more closely mimics that of the Ducati Diavel than it does previous Ducati superbikes. Lower and shorter, it should lead to more conventional ergonomics while sport riding; 916s, 999s and 1098s have all had freakishly long, square, tall tanks, requiring you to relearn body position if you were coming from another brand.
In previous tests, Danilo has reported aerodynamic problems caused by the very low windscreen and the rider’s inability to tuck behind it. This screen appears taller than ones previously used, suggesting Ducati is taking the 1199’s aerodynamic performance seriously. That’s backed up by the faired-in exhaust which leaves very little room for turbulence between it and the rear wheel and the smooth lines of the tail section, which appear to have been designed to reconnect air separated by the bike and rider. Consider this a compromise between style and function. High, pointy tails aren’t good for aero (the longer the better for max teardrop effect), but the rider does appear to be able to scoot his ass very close to the back, meaning their body will move more within the outlines of that metaphorical droplet. This thing is going to suck for passengers.
Newly apparent in this clear photo is the swoopy detailing of the single-sided swingarm. Spec’d for style, not function, it needs to look pretty good to make up for the fact that it’s heavier and stiffer (in the wrong way) than a comparable double-sided arrangement. Swapping wheels will be easy for race teams though.
Want to see more images and much more in-depth analysis? Our Ducati 1199 tag page is definitive.