There’s a very good reason why we awarded the 2018 Ducati Panigale our ‘Motorcycle of the Year’ in the Sun last month. Not only is it stunning, but it also delivers one of the purest rides this side of Blackpool pleasure beach.
The 1000cc sports bike market is as cut throat as ever though and all of the other players unveiled their new weapons at the Milan motorcycle show this week.
BMW has updated the already clinically brilliant S1000RR, Honda has reworked the Fireblade, Aprilia has upped power and tech to NASA levels with the RSV4 and Kawasaki has tweaked the dominant in WSB ZX-10R.
You’d think that means that Ducati might struggle in 2019. No no. Not by a long shot. At the top of the Panigale food chain sits the R model. Dripping with tech, achingly beautiful and powerful enough to see off Wilder and Fury with one hand over its eye and the other behind its back.
The V4 Panigale R weighs just 165kgs dry and, if you tick the right accessory boxes, comes with 234bhp. In power to weight terms, there is nothing that even comes close. It revs to an eargasmic 16,500rpm and makes use of the very latest and greatest rider control software. Cornering reaction control, slide control, cornering abs, multiple levels of traction control and anti-wheelie control (you’ll be needing that). It’s expensive in bike terms at the thick end of £34k, but you try finding a car that can keep up for ten times that amount and we’ll tell you you’re wasting your time looking.
Granted, we’ve yet to ride the 2019 crop of 1000s yet, but if the 2018 Panigale is anything to go by, the new R model from Ducati has little to fear. Unlike the rider.