New Ducati Rumors Don't Exclude Forced Induction

With the 2016 model year bikes being forced to meet the Euro 4 emission standards, the manufacturers have a big problem. In certain cases, new engines might be needed, and Ducati's superbike L-twin is rumored to be on the list.
1299 Panigale 1 photo
Photo: Ducati
It's not the first time such rumors emerge, and with each occasion, something seems to add to their credibility. To keep the current power ratings AND comply with Euro 4, the manufacturers have to revise their engines, increasing displacement or force-feed them, while taking care of emissions by redesigning the exhaust systems.

We already saw the first "victim" of Euro 4, in the form of the 959 Panigale, whose new exhaust is far from being a compliment for the bike. When displacement increase is not a viable option, forced induction seems to be the alternative, even though cost, complexity and weight issues are then added to the day's menu.

Moto-Station talked to Stefano Strappazzon, Ducati, about forced induction, but all they got was ambiguity

Ducati's Stefano Strappazzon was interviewed by moto-station, but he elegantly provided vague answers, just as expected. Still, reading between the (French) lines, we do believe there is something brewing at Ducati.

The Panigale engines are not likely to become bigger, as the XDiavel product manager Mr. Tarabusi told us. Escape from the circle can be achieved using another architecture, namely the V4, or adding supercharging or turbocharging.

MotoGP already provides a good background for the V4 mill, and downgrading it to street specs is much easier than developing an all-new forced induction engine. Ducati has massive support from Audi, but so far they never asked for tech assistance, as Tarabusi told us.

Stefano Strappazzon mentions numerous tech issues a motorcycle manufacturer must deal with when adding forced induction to a bike, including weight, complexity, costs, and the limited real estate available.

Even so, Kawasaki nailed it, Suzuki is making progress too, and it would be a small surprise to see more makers joining the forced induction game. Still, with the new MotoGP bike Gigi Dall'Igna built, there is so much potential at hand for Ducati.

We know this is only a guessing game for the moment, but time is ticking away...
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