This is the third time in a row that a Ducati has won the ‘Performance Bike of the Year’ accolade at autoX awards…
It’s a matter of great pride for us that we’ve won this award for the third time in a row! That speaks volumes about the motorcycles we build. The Streetfighter V2 definitely deserves this recognition.
Ducati is on a roll in 2022. Triple crown in MotoGP and World SBK, and a lot of new products as well. Would it be fair to say that it’s this winning approach, and the learnings from racing, that make your road-going bikes the best in the business?
2022 has been an immensely successful year for us, no doubt. As you’ve pointed out, we’ve won the triple crown in both MotoGP and World SBK. This shows the kind of products our engineers are conceiving and developing at Bologna. It’s true that most of our road bikes are learning heavily from our racing operation. Even a bike like the Multistrada V4 has got that typical DNA, and we’re happy to share that it’s a big success for us globally. Soon, we’ll also have the DesertX on sale in India, and I can assure you that it’ll be an exciting product for its segment – like every Ducati.
Globally, the Multistrada and Monster are Ducati’s best-selling models. Is this the same in India?
The Multistrada and Monster are the best-selling product for Ducati India as well, however, I’d say the Scrambler range is up there in monthly sales with these two. In fact, numerically speaking, Scrambler’s sales are higher, albeit the delta is minuscule. Honestly, even the Panigale numbers are level with the Multistrada, Monster and Scrambler. So, if you think about it, the Indian market isn’t skewed towards a particular Ducati product in that sense. But, yes, the Scrambler’s sales numbers are consistently higher, since it’s the entry-level Ducati.
Could you tell us which region is your biggest market in India, and what products it favours?
I’d say the North and South are our biggest markets, followed closely by the West. But the difference is again very small. One good month of sales here and there, and all three markets bring similar volumes. In the East, we are lagging but that’s a market that does low volumes compared to the other regions for the entire automotive industry.
As for market segmentation, Bengaluru is a big market for us and it favours the Multistrada range the most. Up North, the Panigale is favoured more since there’s a racetrack [BIC] in the vicinity and riders can exploit the performance of a powerful and race-ready motorcycle. And that’s also why I fervently hope to see more racetracks coming up in other parts of the country. Not only because Ducati would be able to sell more motorcycles, but it’ll also benefit the industry as a whole. I think for India to become a more mature motorcycle market, we need more racetracks and riding schools, where people can learn and enjoy entry-level as well as high-end motorcycles, like the Panigale V4.
On a similar topic, MotoGP is finally coming to India, it’s provisionally on the 2023 calendar. Are you looking forward to it and how can you benefit from it?
Well, it’s a no-brainer actually – we are really excited! Ducati has a very close association with MotoGP and the news of the racing series coming to India is something that we’re looking forward to. We’re hopeful that everything will go to plan and believe that the authorities and organisers are working overtime towards making it a successful event. From our end, we want to turn it into an amazing experience for our customers. I also feel that MotoGP will be a force multiplier in the long run. Once enthusiasts in India start seeing the action up close, it’ll bring in new buyers who’ll be interested in riding motorcycles at a racetrack. And somewhere down the line, that will reflect on the sales charts as well.
There’s an ongoing debate between going electric and using synthetic fuels. For a high-emotion brand like Ducati, what direction would the company be keen on taking?
At the moment, it’s very difficult to say which direction we’ll take, but Ducati is working on every future technology in the best way possible. As you might already know, we’ll be the factory supplier for the MotoE racing series from 2023. So, we already have the technology and a race bike ready. However, it’s fair to say that the technology or the bike is not at a level that we can offer to customers for real-world use. Battery chemistry is a complex subject and, as of now, we only have bikes with small battery packs with low power output and low range. In a car, you have the whole floor to mount heavy battery packs, but in a motorcycle, you have space constraints. So, to have a battery with the kind of power, range and handling requirements of a Multistrada V4, it has to be big, which isn’t feasible right now.
'In a car, you have the whole floor to mount heavy battery packs, but in a motorcycle, you have space constraints'
We’re also very aware of the legislation in various parts of the world, so we can’t remain blindsided by these things. Synthetic fuels sound promising at the moment and I’m sure our engineers are already doing development work on a powertrain that can run on this technology. And since we’re a part of the VW Group, our engineers have the access and resources to develop various kinds of technologies from EVs to engines that run on synthetic fuels. As of now, it’s difficult to say which direction we’ll take, but we’ll do whatever is technologically and commercially feasible.