What do you need to know about the new Panigale V4R that Ducati unwrapped at EICMA this week?
This machine is summed up by two numbers, really: weight and horsepower.
The engine is a first for Ducati — a mass-produced 998cc, 4-cylinder lump that’s based directly on their MotoGP Desmosedici. Ducati claim it will make 221 hp (157.5 kW) with 83 lb-ft (114 Nm) of torque.
The weight? 363 lbs (164 kg.)
Those two numbers produce a power-to-weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg, which is its raison d’etre: thrilling high performance. The Panigale V4R replaces the veteran 1299 twin at the top of the Ducati superbike heap.
The V4R is being called “the most powerful production bike in history.” That’s because it’s meant to go racing. As in, the WSBK World Superbike series, which is production based.
Ducati say they worked closely with their racing division, Ducati Corse, to design the V4R. The four-cylinder engine is, in many ways, a lighter, shorter-stroke version of the MotoGP Desmosedici 90-degree V4 with a new name, Stradale (that means street).
And it’s a rev monster, winding up to 15,250 rpm.
Replace the cans with a street-legal performance kit from Akrapovic and horsepower jumps to 234 hp, which just edges the new 2019 Kawasaki H2.
Visually, one of the first things you’ll notice is the winglets up front. Again, that’s a racing thing. They may be banned in MotoGP, but WSBK allows them and that means the V4R has them too.
The suspension is Ohlins, the brakes Brembo Stylema.
Electronic aids include traction control, data analyser with GPS and multimedia system, launch control, wheelie control, Bosch cornering ABS, quickshift, slide control, and engine brake control.
We already know the price range for this road-legal racebike. WSBK rules mandate that it comes in under $45,000. Which will, uh, limit demand. But Ducati only need to build 500 of them to homologate the V4R. And with the kind of performance it promises, plus the joy of seeing your machine in a global racing series, it shouldn’t be too hard to find well-heeled buyers.