While on the exterior, there might seem to be a great deal of similarities between the Ducati Panigale V4 and its predecessor the Ducati 1299 Panigale, stripping away the bodywork shows that the relation is mostly skin deep.
Yes, the “frameless” chassis design remains, and yes the exhaust routing for the four-cylinder machine mimics that on the twin-cylinder bike, but there are noticeable, even critical differences between Ducati’s superbikes, which should translate to meaningful differences on the race track.
The most obvious is how raked back the Desmosedici Stradale engine sits within the Panigale V4 chassis, which measures at 42° from parallel – the same as the Italian company’s V4-powered MotoGP race bike. No coincidence there.
This allows for the “front frame” to become a much longer lever, and attach to the motorcycle in more conventional mounting points. Both of these factors can contribute to making the Panigale V4 handle better on the race track, and provide better rider feedback – a common complaint of the old design.
If it wasn’t for the absence of a twin-spar frame coming from the swingarm of the new Panigale, the front frame would look quite normal, compared to other modern superbike chassis. This is no accident.
This is because the new front frame design surely allows Ducati to save weight on the engine casings for the Stradale engine, which can be less rigid, and thus also be thinner in wall thickness, than those on the Superquadro engine.
The proof of this idea might be in Ducati’s claim that the Stradale engine is only 4.8 lbs heavier than the Supequadro motor, despite its increase in cylinder count and obvious added complexity that comes with a V4 design, when compared to a v-twin.
Ducati says that when compared to the old monocoque frame, the new front frame design allows for torsional rigidity and lateral rigidity to be kept separate, which in turn means that there should be less stress transmitted to the rider from road surface inconsistencies while cornering.
Moving to the aft, the rear subframe (like before) builds off the rear cylinder head. On the base and S models, this is a cast aluminum piece, but on the extra-potent Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale, forged magnesium is used for further weight savings.
The last item of note, is the larger rear tire size: 200/60 ZR17. This new spec tire from Pirelli is considerably taller in profile than the previous 200/55 ZR17 tire size.
While visually striking, the real advantage of the new rear tire size is the larger contact patch that it will create when the Panigale V4 is leaned over.
This means more of the Desmosedici Stradale engine’s 214hp will get transmitted to the ground, all with less intervention from the Panigale V4’s sophisticated IMU-powered traction control system.
While Ducati says that its traction control system is self-calibrating for tire size and wear, we imagine that swapping in an older 200/55 ZR17 tire shape could negatively affect the operation of the motorcycle.
This potentially could mean that Ducati Panigale V4 owners might be locked into using only Pirelli tires on the race track and street. We’ll have to reach out to Ducati to see how the Panigale V4 fares with small tires mounted.
These are the immediate details of the Panigale V4 that strike our eye, but we left the photos in this post at their original resolution, so you can examine the details for yourself as well. Enjoy!