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Ducati anniversary

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Ducati pay homage to iconic 916 with limited edition Panigale V4

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Ducati launched the 916.

The Massimo Tamburini penned masterpiece was not only a truly beautiful motorcycle that blurred the lines between art and machine, the 916 series (which included the 748, 955, 996 and 998 Testastretta) became one of the most successful range of racing motorbikes of all time, and was arguably the bike that revived the perennial troubled Ducati company. Some would say that in the quarter of a century that has passed, no bike has ever even come close to matching the success and cultural impact of the iconic 916. On launch, it became an instant classic and is as highly sought after today as it has ever been.

It’s no surprise then that Ducati has decided to honour its most legendary son with a limited edition version of its latest superbike, the Panigale V4.

Called the “25° Anniversario 916” there will be just 500 examples of the tribute bike built. It’s based on the 1103cc, £24,295, Panigale V4 S but features some parts from the ultra-exotic V4 R, the homologation special built by Ducati to compete in the Superbike World Championship.

The 25° Anniversario 916 gets the V4 R’s racing style windscreen, solo riding seat, race style folding brake and clutch levers, as well as lashings of carbon fibre, most notably the mudguards, heel guards and swingarm cover. There’s also the obligatory numbered plaque, which sits atop a beautifully machined from solid top yoke. Of course, it also comes with a unique livery and some very trick forged magnesium wheels from Marchesini. Akrapovič provide a road legal titanium exhaust, a slight departure from the days of the 916 – which famously braked through its underseat Termignoni silencers.

In its 10 year racing career (from 1994, until it was replaced by the 999 in 2003) the 916 series won a total of 120 world superbike races and six world titles (not to mention five consecutive British superbike titles, in the hands of Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson, John Reynolds, Steve Hislop and Shane Byrne).

With four world titles and 43 race wins on Ducati 916-derived models, it was no surprise to see British legend Carl Fogarty reunited with the Italian firm at the launch of the limited edition, at this weekend’s world superbike round at Laguna Seca in the USA.

“I’m thrilled to be here at this event,” Foggy said after riding the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 onto the stage at a launch party in nearby Pebble Beach. “The Ducati 916 gave me some fantastic, unforgettable moments. It played a starring role in my career and in the history of the World Superbike Championship. On the wider motorcycling scene, it set a whole new standard of style and performance. I’m proud to have played a pivotal role in that success story, and equally proud to be here today and celebrate this important anniversary by officially unveiling this breathtaking bike.”

The Anniversario’s livery is inspired by the bikes ridden by Fogarty in the 1990s, complete with his bold number one and sponsor stickers. Modern day Ducati teamsters Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista rode using a similar livery at Laguna, and buyers of the anniversary bikes will also get some Foggy stickers to apply to their bikes if they wish. No UK prices have been announced yet, but in Italy one will set you back €41,900, which is around a 50% premium on the standard model.

Ducati also used the launch event to remember racer Carlin Dunne, who tragically died last month while on course to set a new record at the Pikes Peak hill climb. The Californian Ducati dealer was riding a Ducati V4 Streetfighter prototype and was just a few corners away from the finish line when he appeared to lose control. Ducati North America’s CEO, Jason Chinnock, announced that Ducati will not sell bike five of the 500 bike run (five being Dunne’s race number) through usual channels. Instead the bike will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to Carlin’s family.

Fancy owning one. Ducati reckon that they’ll be in showrooms from October, although if previous limited edition Ducatis are anything to go by, they may well all be sold out by the time you read this.

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