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Strong demand for the new Panigale V4 saved Ducati’s bacon, in otherwise mixed results for the first half of 2018. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Global retail sales for the brand declined by 7.5% to 32,250 bikes, with most major markets apart from Italy lower. Worst affected was the Naked slot comprising Monster and Diavel products, 24.6% down to 8090. Scramblers fell by 12.7% to 7600. Dual-Sport retreated by 6.3%, with Multistrada growth failing to entirely compensate for Hypermotard losses. But a 29.1% rise to 7683 for Sports, driven by the aforementioned big-ticket superbike, softened blows elsewhere.

Revenue during the period decreased by 2.2% to £399.7m. However, thanks to that Panigale effect, operating profit improved by 10.2% to £48.1m. Operating margin rose to 12.1% from 10.8%.

Half-yearly production grew by just 0.3% to 37,997 motorcycles. Ducati’s Bologna HQ in Italy assembled 32,669 of them, 4752 were made in Thailand and a contractor in Brazil bolted together 576.