Earlier this year we spotted something interesting in the Pikes Peak entry list, as Ducati was listed running a bike in the exhibition class, with Pikes Peak expert Carlin Dunne at its helm.
That Ducati would team up once again with Dunne is not a surprise. The former outright record holder for motorcycles at Pikes Peak, Dunne has brought Ducati victory on every outing of his to the Colorado mountain.
What was interesting in the entry list though was the choice of running in the exhibition class, which would only be done if Dunne & Ducati were electing not to use the Multistrada 1260 platform once again.
Our suspicion was that Ducati intended to use a stripped down version of the Panigale V4 R superbike, or perhaps even a Streetfighter V4 prototype. It would seem that our first guess was correct.
This photo above was sent to us by a loyal A&R reader, and it shows Dunne testing a pair of naked Panigale V4 R superbikes at a track day at Chuckwalla.
While the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has banned the use of superbikes, or specifically any motorcycle that doesn’t have a single-piece handlebar, the exhibition class allows for some flexibility on those rules.
As we can see in the photo, the two Panigale V4 R race bikes have been fitted with a handlebar that attaches to the triple clamp, though other details are hard to spot.
We would imagine that some bodywork is still to come for this makeshift streetfighter, which will certainly be a necessity. With an exhaust and Ducati Performance tune, the Panigale V4 R can make a claimed 230hp on pump gas. We imagine even more can lurk in the bike’s 90° V4 engine with some expert hands on the wrenches (and keyboards).
Ducati, it would seem, is very serious about reclaiming its title as the fastest two-wheeled machine up Pikes Peak, which should make this year’s Race to the Clouds a very interesting one to watch. Stay tuned.
Photo: Bothan Spies