DUCATI has thrown off the covers of its hotly anticipated Ducati V4 superbike – the first four-cylinder production motorcycle from Borgo Panigale. Boasting a 1,103cc powertrain derived from the MotoGP Desmosedici, the Ducati V4 is the next step of MotoGP technology to filter down to consumers and at a fraction of the price – the V4 will cost £20,000 when it goes on sale in January.
The Ducati V4 Panigale is company’s next big move. The 90° V4 replaces the last of the favoured twin-cylinders that we tested in the form of the Panigale R Final Edition and is the next stage of mass-produced MotoGP-derived engine tech that punters like us can buy.
The Desmodici Stradale engine is a 1103cc 90° V4 utilising Desmodromic timing – Ducati’s valve control system that determines how each of the four valves in each cylinder are controlled.
The V4 produces 214hp, with a kerb weight of 198kg that boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg. The S and Speciale drop another 3kg (195kg). Torque figures hit 91.5 lb-ft at 10,000rpm.
The V4 has the same setup as the Desmosedici GP, with the 90° V4 rotated backwards by 42° to make it more compact and improve ‘centralisation of mass’.
A counter-rotating type crankshaft claims to make the Ducati V4 quicker-turning by countering the gyroscopic effect of the wheels, as well as reducing wheelie and dive effect under acceleration and braking.
The V4 also gets a new frame with a load-bearing function for the Desmosedici Stradale. Ducati call this the ‘Front Frame’, and claim the set up is lighter and more compact than the previous perimeter frame, implementing the engine as a stressed chassis element. It promises to improve the ride, but as an addition allows the front section of the seat to be slimmer.
Ducati’s press release in September stated the crank pins had a 70° offset, making for a ‘twin Pulse’ firing sequence that produces a ‘unique signature sound’ along with providing ‘easy-to-handle power and excellent out-of-the-corner traction’.
The Italian manufacturer described the V4 as well suited to the track but also designed with road requirements in mind, with good low-down and mid-range torque, thanks to the slightly larger displacement than its MotoGP ‘counterpart’.
There’s no denying the V4 is an attractive bike whipped up in that Ducati Red, so to keep it planted the standard Ducati V4 gets 43 mm Showa Big Piston Forks (BPF) and a Sachs monoshock – both fully adjustable – and a Sachs steering damper.
Kitted with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber, the bike’s stopping power is handled by new Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers.
A Bosch 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit controls Ducati’s signature electronics package, including: Cornering Bosch EVO, Ducati Traction Control EVO Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Ducati Wheelie Control EVO, Ducati Power Launch, Ducati Quick Shift up/down EVO (with buttons for quickshifting) and Engine Brake Control EVO.
The three riding modes Race, Sport, Street, adjustable via the new TFT display alter each of these systems.
The bike gets the full-LED headlight treatment with DRL, compatible with both the Ducati Data Analyser + GPS and Ducati Multimedia System. Other high spec components include aluminium forged wheels, a lithium-ion battery and cast magnesium alloy front sub frame.
The standard entry level V4 will be available in January for £19,250, but as with all Ducati superbikes, there’s the special versions to watch out for, of which there are two: The £23,895 V4 S, or if you can wait another two months there’s the ultimate V4 Speciale in race livery.
The S adds Öhlins NIX-30 forks,TTX 36 shock absorber and a steering damper, all of which boast the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 system.
The Ducati V4 Speciale will cost £34,995, will boast the same standard spec as the Panigale V4 S, but with added components including a machined-from-solid top yoke with identification number, Alcantara seat, dedicated handle grips, adjustable foot pegsracing articulated levers, race fuel tank cap and brake level protection.
There’s also the addition of a wave of carbon fibre parts including front/rear mudguards, heel guard and swinging arm, along with a full racing titanium Ducati Performance by Akrapovič exhaust system, racing screen, plate holder removal kit, machined-from solid mirror replacement plugs, Ducati Data Analyser+ GPS (DDA + GPS) and a bike cover.