Ducati's application for a US patent on their unique frame design has caused a bit of stir recently. While it simply looks as if they're putting a patent on their already existing frame design, sources inside the Bologna factory are claiming that a completely new engine and chassis are in the works for new models.
Does this mean the end of the Pantah era? Could be as their planning on going to a completely different engine design. I don't think they could ever get rid of the twin since it's one of the Ducati trademarks, but it's been clear for some time that their engine is at it's limits for racing. They can no longer get anymore reliable power from the design (a design they have been using since the seventies), and I doubt they will b allowed anymore displacement in WSBK to compete with the multi's.
the new frame engine combo bolts the very small frame front frame to the engine heads and uses the engine as a large part of the frame, bolting directly to the swingarm and subframe in the rear. The front frame will be made of Carbon fiber and contain the airbox. This will give tremendous weight savings and make the suspension an integrated better with the frame.