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Supersonica: A rapid Ducati Panigale from Jett Design

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
How many custom builders can squeeze the last ounce of performance out of a modern sportbike and give the aesthetics a jolt of adrenaline? Not many.

That makes Virginia-based Andrew Jett a rarity. The clue is in his fine arts/design background, coupled with a serious taste for speed. He wowed us a year ago with his custom Triumph Street Triple, and has just thrown the wraps off this brilliant custom Ducati Panigale.

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
The stats of the bike are impressive. Andrew has dropped the dry weight from 176 to 160 kilos (387 to 353 pounds), and bumped up the power from 157 hp to 165 at the crank. It makes an already fast bike even faster, with the speed to match its aggressive new looks.

“I’ve been intrigued by motorcycles since I was a kid,” says Andrew. “Combined with that fascination was a desire to modify bikes—with lighter weight, better handling and a more ‘focused’ experience for the rider.”

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
Andrew has called his bike the Ducati ‘955S’—after the engine capacity and the Superquadro motor. He bought it brand new off the showroom floor in early 2017. “It was the first Ducati I purchased, and I bought it as my personal bike. This bike has always been my personal favorite because of its intense riding experience.”

After a season of riding, it sat in the Jett Design workshop for almost two years while Andrew pondered over a redesign. “During the recent stay at home orders, I focused on getting this bike completely rebuilt. I had the time to think about what I really loved about it, and what factory design aspects I wanted to change.”

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
Andrew decided to go for a stripped-down lightweight machine, with more of a ‘naked’ riding experience. “I specifically wanted to delete the big factory fairings, and show everything that was deliberately covered up. It’s my personal vision of what a ‘super naked’ should be.”

The engine now breathes out through a new Werkes USA muffler, with a K&N racer filter on the intake end. The ECU has been remapped to suit by Duc Pond Motorsports, which is also Andrew’s local Ducati dealer.

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
The factory quick shifter is now married to a heavy-duty WSBK-style F.C.C. slipper clutch and Superlite sprockets, so Andrew can rip through the gear changes even faster than usual. The wheels are equally trick, being forged magnesium rims from Marchesini Racing.

The suspension is from the Italian race specialist Mupo, with new cartridges in the 43mm Showa forks and a new monoshock to match. Custom billet upper and lower triple trees tighten up the steering and a Bitubo fully adjustable steering damper keeps the front end planted at speed. The brakes get a boost from a new Brembo RCS 19 master cylinder.

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
After getting the dynamics sorted, Andrew turned his attention to the frame and bodywork. He’s ditched the all-enveloping stock fairing plastics, and crafted more compact and aggressive bodywork that reveals more of the mechanical elements.

The new front fairing now includes discreet LED lighting and is followed by a pair of ‘wings’ under the tank. The brackets holding everything together are a featherweight mix of carbon fiber and aluminum.

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
The back end of the frame is new, and simply acts as a support for the modified seat unit. It’s a big weight saving that doesn’t compromise rider ergonomics either, and there’s a compact LED light unit hidden under the perch.

The design is both minimal and brutal, and leagues ahead of the typical sportbike streetfighter treatment. “I knew whatever design I came up with, it had to be sleek and fit the nature of the bike,” says Andrew. “So this build has an industrial design flair, showcasing the engineering and mechanicals.”

Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design
With an all-black livery applied by ace painter Kevin Petitt of PetittBilt, the Panigale now looks like a stealth fighter ready to take off. We’re just not sure if we’ve got the cojones to ride it…

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Custom Ducati 959 Panigale from Jett Design