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Ducati Panigale V4

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During the offseason for the WorldSBK series, I sent our man Steve English on a photo-finding mission. He came back victorious from his endeavor, bringing us our first look at the WorldSBK-spec BMW S1000RR superbike that Tom Sykes will campaign this season.

Today, we have another treasure trove of photos from that outing, as we bring you an “up-close” gallery of Eugene Laverty’s Ducati Panigale V4 RS19 race bike, which was back-to-back testing components at Portimão, ahead of this weekend’s season-opener.

A motorcycle that we have covered extensively here at Asphalt & Rubber, you might be wondering why another Panigale V4 is gracing our pages. For that, let me explain.

When it comes to sales figures for 2018, it is a good news / bad news type of situation for Ducati Motor Holding.

This is because the Italian brand sold 53,004 motorcycles to customers last year, which is a 5% drop from 2017’s figures, and ends an eight-year growth streak for the brand. That’s the bad news.

The good news though is that Ducati claimed the title as the top superbike brand in the world, with 9,700 Panigale models sold in 2018. This marks a 70% increase over the 2017 figures, thanks largely to the new Panigale V4 model.

We have got Ducati streetfighters on the brain, ever since we saw the entry list for the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which has record-setter Carlin Dunne entered mysteriously into the exhibition class with an unnamed Ducati motorcycle.

We are speculating that such a machine will be a stripped down Ducati Panigale V4 R, or an early Ducati Streetfigther V4 prototype, which should make for an exciting debut at the “Race to the Clouds” event.

While we expect the Streetfighter V4 to debut later this year, likely at the EICMA show in November, we do have an example of such a machine to drool over, thanks to the folks at Officine GP Design.

Building their “V4 Penta” motorcycle, the Italian outfit has created what many have been waiting for: a stripped down version of the Ducati Panigale V4 superbike.

The Ducati Panigale V4 might be the pinnacle of superbike design, but today mark’s the machine’s fifth recall in its inaugural year of production. 

This particular recall affects the Panigale V4’s cam chain tensioner, which may loosen over time, and possibly cause oil to leak from the bottom of the tensioner adjustment bolt.

Obviously, an oil leak could lead to a loss of traction for the motorcycle, and may cause the bike to crash, hence the need for a recall.

Another recall for the day, Ducati North America is recalling certain 2018-2019 Ducati Panigale V4, V4 S, and V4 S Speciale motorcycles. The recall stems from the Panigale V4’s oil cooler, which may leak oil from the output port.

According to the recall documents, the oil cooler output port may crack during extreme usage, like when the 1,103cc superbike is being used on a race track. The recall affects 1,663 units of the Panigale V4 lineup, 

This video is a bit of marketing piece (a bit might be putting it lightly), but we can’t help but drool over the exhaust that Akrapovič made for the Ducati Panigale V4 R superbike.

Mixed with a race ECU, the serpentine twists of the Akrapovič pipes help coax 231hp from what used to be a 217hp machine in its stock form.

That is a proper WorldSBK level power figure…all from a street bike. It might be a $40,000 street bike sure, but it still runs on pump gas and comes with a two-year warranty and 7,500-mile service intervals.

Once again, you are going to see a number of Brembo brake recalls in the coming days, if not weeks, as the Italian company has yet another sweeping recall this year.

Unlike the first recall, which affected the piston on the high performance master cylinders found on a number of superbikes and other sport bike motorcycles, this recall affects the rear brake pads.

Sport bikes will be the focus of the recall, as the again the parts are performance based, and specifically the recall concerns the brake pad friction material which may detach from the brake pad backing plate.

Brembo says that its brake pad supplier (Federal Mogul) improperly thermal treated the brake pads at a higher temperature, which resulted in a reduced bonding of the pad material to the backing plate. This was caused by human error.

Because of this error, it is possible that the friction material on the brake pads could come off during a braking procedure, which would increase the braking distance required to stop. This is an obvious safety hazard.

More doom and gloom for the motorcycle industry, as Ducati Motor Holdings sales are slumping for the 2018 model year. Selling 32,250 motorcycles so far this year, the Italian brand is short 7.4% the volume it sold this time last year.

To translate unit sales into fiat currency, the 32,250 motorcycles sold equals €448 million in revenue going into Audi’s coffers. Of note, Ducati’s revenue contribution to Audi AG accounts for 1.4% of the automaker’s total revenue.

For the second quarter of this year, Ducati sales were down 8.9% compared to Q2 2017. This means that 20,319 Ducati motorcycles were sold in Q2 2018, compared to the 22,300 sold in Q2 2017.

12 Ducati racers. 12 Ducati Panigale V4 S superbikes. 12 race liveries to drool over. If you are not on the Adriatic Coast of Italy right now, you are missing out on one of the motorcycle industry’s best events…even if you don’t ride a Ducati motorcycle.

This is because World Ducati Week 2018 is about to kickoff in Misano this weekend, and while the festival has plenty to keep you entertained, one of the highlights to the three-day event will certainly be the Race of Champions.

Slotted to race will be a dozen names that should be familiar to motorcycle racing fans: Troy Bayliss, Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, Michele Pirro, Chaz Davies (who will miss the race because of a broken collarbone), Marco Melandri, Jack Miller, Danilo Petrucci, Xavi Fores, Michael Rinaldi, Tito Rabat, and Karel Abraham.

The race will take place on Saturday, and be shown live on Italian TV, but fans around the world can get in on the action as well, as each of the Ducati Panigale V4 S superbikes being raced will be auctioned publicly on eBay, giving Ducatisti a chance to own a very special race-prepped motorcycle.

For those of us without the coin, however, we have 12 gorgeous machines to drool over on the interwebs.

It is hard to pick a favorite, but I will say just this…Ducati would sell the beans out of a special edition Bayliss replica…and the MotoGP livery looks fantastic when applied the Panigale V4 street bike. Which is your pick?

Here is a common joke that you will often hear: "How do you make a small fortune in the motorcycle industry? Start with a large one." Well, the next time you hear the lead-up, here is a new punchline for you: "Sell a limited edition model."

Motorcycle manufacturers have been onto this gag for a while now, offering limited edition, numbered for collectors, pure unobtanium motorcycle models to the well-heeled masses.

There may not be that many people that can afford a motorcycle that costs as much as a modest house, but there enough of these people in the world that selling a couple hundred expensive superbikes a year is a pretty trivial feat - it helps too that many of these enthusiasts are return-customers too.

Take the case of Ducati, as our Bothan spies have provided us with some interesting information about the Borgo Panigale brand. Last year, the Italian company made more money on its special edition superbikes, than the regular models it sells.

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New model teething issues are always a reality, and it seems that the Ducati Panigale V4 is no exception to the rule. Finding not one, but two issues with the Panigale V4’s fueling system, Italy’s newest superbike is being recalled in the United States.

Both recalls seem to affect the full-lot of Panigale V4 models that have made it to US soil thus far this year, which means 692 units (base, S, and Special trim levels) are being recalled for two issues related to the bike’s fuel system.

As such, the first recall centers around the breathing system valve plug on the Panigale V4, which might have a fuel leak if the O-ring was damaged during production.

Accordingly, the second recall involves the fuel tank cap, which can spray gas when opened, because again of breathing issues within the fuel system.