If you are a hardcore Ducatisti, you will probably mark today down in history, as Ducati has moved on from its v-twin superbike design, adopting its first production four-cylinder superbike*.
Today, the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 officially debuted in Milan, Italy for the EICMA show, and the new 1,103cc machine boasts some impressive figures: 211hp (157.5 kW) at the crank, 88.5 lbs•ft of peak torque, and a paltry 384 lbs weight when dry (436 lbs at the curb).
Considered more of an evolution of the Ducati 1299 Panigale superbike design by the Italians, the big changes to the new Panigale is its “Desmosedici Stradale” engine, which has a 70° crank pin offset and a “Twin Pulse” 0-90-290-380 firing order for its pistons.
This makes the Desmo Stradale V4 engine more like two v-twin engines mated next to each other – a bid to make the power and character of the Panigale V4 more recognizable to loyal Ducati owners. A nod to Ducati’s MotoGP program, the Desmosedici Stradale engine is counter-rotating as well.
Of course, Ducati doesn’t leave the changes to just the engine, as the Ducati Panigale V4 is truly an all-new machine beneath its fairings.
Cornering ABS is standard on the Panigale V4, and Ducati has also included Bosch’s dynamic slide contol, which allows riders to drift the rear wheel of the motorcycle with amazing control and safety.
Ducati has also updated its up-and-down quickshifter, which adapts its settings to how the bike is being ridden, which includes adjustments for seamlessly shifting the gearbox when the Panigale V4 is leaned over.
Like on the previous generation machine, the chassis on the Ducati Panigale V4 is built directly off the motor, using aluminum to create the integrated airbox/headstock design, as well as the single-sided swingarm.
The base model Ducati Panigale V4 uses 43mm Showa Big Piston forks, which are mated to a fully adjustable Sachs shock. The steering damper is also courtesy of Sachs.
Of course the “S” model comes with electronic suspension from Öhlins, in the form of the Öhlins NIX-30 forks and Öhlins TTX36 shock, as well as the Öhlins steering damper.
The Ducati Panigale V4 S also features a lithium-ion battery, forged aluminum Marchesini wheels, and a cast magnesium subframe (the base model subframe is made out of aluminum). This brings the weight on the Panigale V4 S down to 383 lbs dry (430 lbs wet).
With the Stradale engine being more upright however (raked back 42°, just like on the MotoGP race bike), this has allowed Ducati to use longer beams for its “frameless” chassis design, which means more flex can be handled be the chassis, rather than the ultra-stiff engine cases.
With the engine weighing only 143 lbs, Ducati’s weight savings from its minimalist chassis makes for one of the lightest production superbikes on the market. In total, the Ducati Panigale V4 is only 11 lbs heavier than the outgoing Ducati 1299 Panigale, which is impressive for a four-cylinder machine.
When you take on the titanium Akrapovic exhaust and give the ECU a reflash, Ducati says that the Panigale V4 makes 226hp, which gives it a class-leading power-to-weight ratio.
We’re still waiting to hear from Ducati North America on availability and pricing. Until then, enjoy the photos below.
As always, Asphalt & Rubber will be covering all the new bikes debuting at EICMA this year. Be sure to follow our coverage for the most recent news and photos.