In case you missed the launch of the Ducati Panigale V4 R superbike, the 998cc fire-breathing 217hp (162 kW) beast of a motorcycle, Ducati Corse is dead serious about returning to winning form in production superbike racing. In other words, the Bologna brand is all-in when it comes to WorldSBK next year.
Helping them to that object is the Ducati Panigale V4 RS19, a bike that is available only to the racing customers of Ducati Corse.
Dripping in carbon fiber, this track-only weapon is what Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista will use next season, as they aim to unseat Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki from their superbike dominance.
Ducati isn’t talking too much about the Ducati Panigale V4 RS19, most likely because it isn’t really a customer-facing motorcycle, but we can guess some of its specs of this drop-dead sexy machine.
First up, power is going to be at least 231hp (172 kW), since that is what the street model makes when a race exhaust and ECU tune is added to the mix – the reality is that the WorldSBK spec is likely even higher.
With the Demosedici Stradale R engine sharing a lineage with Ducati’s grand prix racing program, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Ducati’s WorldSBK race bike was touching MotoGP power figures.
We can also expect the wet weight to around the 370 lbs (168 kg) minimum that is set by the FIM regulations for the WorldSBK Championship. Helping achieve that goal is the all carbon fiber bodywork, which we can see highlighted by the lack of paint on the RS19.
However, winning at the highest level isn’t all about producing the most horsepower with the lightest weight. It is also about development, and Ducati has had over a year to hone the Panigale V4 RS19 into a racing weapon.
One example of this development process is the fuel tank, which from the photos we can see that it has been moved back into the tail section for better mass centralization, and likely to provide more space for a larger airbox above the 90° V4 engine. The tank appears to be load supporting too, doubling as the rear subframe.
In track testing photos, we have seen the Panigale V4 RS19 with a dry clutch setup, so it is disappointing not to see that feature in the photos from EICMA. There are likely a bevy of other advancements and changes that either haven’t found their way to the show bike, or are being kept under lock and key.
It won’t be long though until we see the performance level of the Ducati Panigale V4 R in racing trim, the World Superbike Championship season-opener is only a few months away at Phillip Island.
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.