Ducati continues to crank out variations on its V4 Panigale platform. For 2021, we’re getting the new Panigale V4 SP, a track-oriented bike with many parts borrowed from the Superleggera.
Importantly, though, the engine is the same as the standard V4 Panigale and V4 Panigale S (yes, it’s getting hard to keep track of all the Ducati superbike lineup these days!). Both those bikes have the same 1100cc V4 engine, making 214 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 91.5 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm. More importantly, they’re Euro5-ready; since those emissions regs come into play this winter, Ducati isn’t likely anxious to start messing about with its engines too much.
The SP’s suspension comes from the S model, with Ohlins NIX30 forks and TTX36 shock. There’s an Ohlins steering damper too, with proprietary electronic damping control system. And, like Ducati’s other Panigale V4 models, there’s wheelie and launch control, slide control, cornering-sensitive ABS and traction control, adjustable engine braking, and all the rest. It’s even got the new DTC EVO 3 traction control system, which Ducati says is a major upgrade to its previous systems, as it’s more predictive.
Where the SP differs from the lesser Panigale V4 and V4 S is its track-oriented equipment. The SP has many parts lifted from the Superleggera, including carbon rims, brake calipers, brake master cylinders and dry clutch. Supposedly, those rims enable superior handling, and the updated Brembo Stylema calipers and Brembo MCS radial brake pump make for more consistent braking that’s able to adjust to a rider’s preference. As for the dry clutch, Ducati claims it’s better for track action.
Ducati added Rizoma rear-set racing footpegs, allowing for a fair amount of adjustment. The fairing gets the same carbon-fibre wings as the V4 Panigale R, and the SP has same raw alloy fuel tank too. Because no self-respecting Ducati rider wants unsightly holes in the bodywork after removing lights and mirrors for the track, the SP models ship with a race bodywork kit, patching it all up tidily. Ducati also includes a datalogger assembly, allowing riders to analyze their on-track performance. There are several smaller touches, like a 520 chain that cuts just the slightest amount of weight. All in all, the tweaks only add up to a slight amount of saved weight, though; the V4 SP weighs 173 kilos dry, compared to the V4 S at 174 kilos.
The V4 Panigale SP is coming to North America for the 2021 spring selling season, priced at $37,000 in the US and $42,995 in Canada.