Just in case you have been living under a rock, or been the victim of a massive coma, Ducati is set to debut a new superbike with a V4 engine. The news is a pretty big deal in Ducati circles – the Italian brand finally abandoning the v-twin format for its superbike offering.
Although…this isn’t the first Ducati superbike with a V4 engine, nor is Ducati unfamiliar with making four-cylinder machines.
Since 2003, Ducati has been using a V4 engine to power its MotoGP program, starting first with a “twin pulse” engine design, which operated essentially by having two v-twin engines mated together, and firing in near-unison.
Ducati Corse now uses a “big bang” firing for its MotoGP program. The separation between the engine pulses helps to translate the power from the engine, through the tire, and down to the pavement.
The engine design has also become a GP favorite, with Honda switching from a “screamer” format to a “big bang” format for the 2017, and KTM Racing basing its new MotoGP program around a “big bang” V4 engine design as well.
All of this work on the racing side of Ducati’s Bologna factory ultimately lead to the production of a street model, the Ducati Desmosedici RR. Not a race bike with lights, like we have seen with the Honda RC213V-S, the Desmosedici RR was an all new design that shared very few parts with its racing counterpart.
A limited edition machine, the Ducati Desmosedici RR was bred as an exclusive street bike, with obvious inspirations coming from the MotoGP machine, including its “twin pulse” firing order.
What does this all have to do with the here and now though? Ducati is about to repeat the process, albeit with a superbike that is more fit for mass production.
The new Ducati V4 superbike will not have a “twin pulse” engine configuration, like we saw on the Desmosedici RR, but instead it will borrow the “big bang” firing order from the current crop of MotoGP machines.
The engine technology will be a mating of everything that Ducati has learned from racing prototype motorcycles, as well as an evolution decades of making high-performance v-twin engines. Think of it as the mating of the Desmosedici and Superquadro engine designs.
“We have some tricks in the engine, that are very interesting. And when you couple this engine, a short-stroke, multiple-cylinder, with a desmodromic valves, you come out with a combination that is something which is unique,” said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali to us earlier this year.
“It will make it different from any other four-cylinder on the market. This is the reason why our engine in MotoGP is so special, because it’s the only desmo engine,” he continued.
We expect to see this new engine design later this year, likely at a special event in September, at the Misano World Circuit. The full monty, the release of Ducati’s still unnamed V4 superbike, will likely occur at November’s EICMA trade show, in Milan.
Until then, we have a bevy of high-resolution photos of Ducati’s first V4 one-liter superbike, the Ducati Desmosedici RR. Enjoy!