In 2019 a quarter of a century will have gone by since the Ducati 916 first emerged on the global stage, making a big impact on the world of superbikes.
Born from Massimo Tamburini’s sketches, the bike is claimed to have revolutionised the world of motorcycle design, with some even considering it to be the sexiest and most iconic bike ever built.
But the 916 (pictured above, including in racing guise) wasn’t just a good looking bike and an enormous sales success. It also won World Superbike championships: Having debuted in 1994, it went on to win 120 races, eight constructors’ titles and six riders’ titles, four of them with Carl Fogarty. The Englishman has won 55 races with Ducati, of which 43 riding a Ducati 916 SBK and 996 SBK. “King Carl” and the 916 remain the most successful ‘couple’ in Ducati SBK history.
Ducati is therefore marking the bike’s 25th anniversary by creating a special-edition version of the Panigale V4. Limited to just 500 units, it has been “designed to let all true Ducatisti re-live the spirit of the 916”, according to the Italian manufacturer.
With Panigale V4 S underpinnings, the “25° Anniversario 916” has been upgraded with racing content from the Panigale V4 R such as the front frame, designed to Ducati Corse specifications. The exterior look of the bike also combines a special livery with forged magnesium wheels, a titanium type-approved Akrapovič exhaust and a long list of Ducati Performance components.
Ducati chose round nine of the Superbike World Championship, which took place this past weekend at Laguna Seca in California, to officially unveil the bike, with the presentation not only including company sales boss Francesco Milicia but also Carl Fogarty himself.
The reveal of the bike was also an occasion of remembrance, honouring Californian Carlin Dunne, the Spider Grips Ducati team rider who recently died at Pikes Peak. Jason Chinnock announced Ducati’s decision to remove the number 5 from selling, the same number that Dunne used to race with.
“In all of modern motorcycling history, no bike has been as era-defining as the 916, both in terms of design and performance. I’m incredibly proud to present this exclusive version of our Panigale V4, itself a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the 916,” said Milicia during the event at 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,” added Fogarty.
The 25° Anniversario 916 is expected to arrive in dealerships starting from October 2019 at a price of just under £38,ooo ex-works.