The latest rumors in the industry see Ducati teaming up with Indian motorcycle makers Hero, with the alleged goal of this tie-up being a 300cc-class bike that would be sold both in Asian and Western markets.
Even though many see Ducati as an icon of superbike engineering, we must not forget how Borgo Panigale started out. And thinking about the fact that Audi AG is considering selling the brand these days… there might be a good deal of truth behind such industry whispers. In actuality, Hero was not at all shy of expressing their interest in investing in Ducati after the first news about Audi planning to sell Ducati broke out.
In case this sounds weird to some ears, we remind you that similar partnerships are already in effect, and with very lucrative results, too. Just think BMW and TVS, and their G310 platform, or KTM and Bajaj, with their multiple small displacement machines. As unlikely as it may seem, seeing Ducati jumping in the small displacement entry level bandwagon makes a lot of sense.
The Asian markets have quite an appetite for premium European brands, and Ducati is no exception. However, with their base products selling for loads of money, only a handful of customers can get a Panigale or Multistrada in India. Hence, a small-displacement Ducati or Ducati-inspired Hero could become a major player in the market, and would most likely sell in large volumes. The same goes for an entry-level Ducati aimed at new riders with rather tight budgets, both in Europe and across the pond.
We don’t expect Bologna to engineer yet another small-displacement L-twin like the one that animates the Sixty2 machine, but they could definitely remake one of Ducati’s classic singles, possibly with desmodromic architecture. Such an engine could appeal to customers all over the world and would be a most welcome addition to the industry, especially if no corners were cut.
With Ducati’s desmo engines revving up quite a bit, even a 300cc mill could deliver plenty of power, maybe getting close to 40 HP or more, while keeping the weight figures low and the fun factor high. Seeing a smaller Scrambler or Monster would only seem natural, and thinking about BMW’s 310GS makes a 300-ish Multistrada-derived machine an appearance that’s bound to happen.
Likewise, Panigale-inspired gateway sport bikes would also meand a great addition to both Ducati’s and Hero’s line-up, preparing their new generations of customers for Bologna’s real deal machines. Is there anything preventing Ducati from taking yet another bold step in this industry? Guess not, especially as their financial troubles seem to have finally eased up. Honestly, there is a strong je ne sais quoi to a small-displacement Ducati that makes it a very appealing idea…
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