It is not a matter of if, but when Ducati makes a streetfighter version of the new Panigale V4 – this much my sources in Bologna have assured me.
This news makes sense for the Italian brand, as the sport-naked segment is heating up, and there are plenty of offerings from other brands that make the Ducati Monster 1200 R look like a toy in comparison.
In fact, just about every major brand has a bike in this space, except for Ducati.
We are not hopeful that a Streetfighter V4 will debut at the INTERMOT & EICMA trade shows later this year, but we do see such a model as being a reality for around the 2020 model year.
Helping us visualize such a machine, this render from Kardesign does an excellent job of taking the lines from the original Ducati Streetfighter 1098 (a bike near and dear to this author’s heart), and applying them to the V4 rolling chassis.
Will Ducati recycle the Streetfighter design like Kardesign has shown? Not very likely, but the Panigale V4 chassis does lend itself to the role in a more appealing way than the outgoing 1299 Panigale does.
We also know from talking to Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali that Ducati plans to use the V4 engine in a number of performance-focused bikes. A streetfighter would seem to be the logical choice for that.
Will we see a Multistrada V4, however? That seems less likely, at least as a direct replacement for the v-twin powered tourer.
What would seem more likely is a V4 adventure-sport model, which would go more head-to-head with the BMW S1000XR and KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, thus leaving the Multistrada 1260 to take on the bigger street-leaning ADV models.
A power cruiser with the V4 engine could also make sense from Ducati, taking a page from the Yamaha VMAX. Though, Ducati seems to have other plans for the Diavel lineup for 2019, which would push such an idea will into 2021 or beyond.
This is all just speculation at this point, of course, but it will be interesting to see where Ducati takes its new power plant for spin. We will keep you posted as we learn more.