The last Pani­gale

Fi­nal Edi­tion of a fa­mous name sig­nals the im­mi­nent ar­rival of V4 Du­cati su­per­bikes


‘Du­cati are test­ing a new V4 – vis­ually evolved from the Pani­gale’

THIS TRICOLOUR DELIGHT is the new, £35,000, Du­cati 1299 Pani­gale R Fi­nal Edi­tion. It’s es­sen­tially the fully-ad­justable chas­sis from the 1199 Pani­gale R that Du­cati make to meet World Su­per­bike rules, with the mighty tuned-up en­gine from their su­per-swank Su­per­leg­gera (see page 47) – the most pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion Du­cati twin ever. This means it has a dimesn­sion-shift­ing 209bhp at 11,000rpm and rub­ber-rip­pling 105 lb.ft of torque, in an end­lessly ad­justable pack­age with com­po­nents from the toppest of draw­ers and a wet weight of just 190kg. Us­ing con­ven­tional race-spec Öh­lins sus­pen­sion, a high-level pipe as on Chaz Davies’ race-win­ning World Su­per­bike and more elec­tronic what­nots than we have space to list, the Pani­gale Fi­nal Edi­tion is only avail­able in the red, white and green colour scheme. Though the pro­duc­tion run won’t be limited, each bike will be num­bered. They should al­ready be in deal­ers. Which is all very nice. How­ever, it’s the choice of name that’s far more in­ter­est­ing than the ti­ta­nium con-rods and mind-bog­gling rider aids. You know, the Fi­nal Edi­tion bit. Yes, this is the last-ever big Pani­gale. Far more sig­nif­i­cantly, this may also be the last big Du­cati sports­bike to use a V-twin en­gine. ‘With the 1299 Pani­gale R Fi­nal Edi­tion, Du­cati pays trib­ute to the twin-cylin­der en­gine,’ says the Ital­ian fac­tory. Their first road-go­ing V-twin was the 750GT of 1971, and led to iconic ma­chin­ery in­clud­ing the 900SS. Liq­uid cool­ing and mul­ti­valve heads brought us the 851, the bike which won at the very first WSB round in 1988 and was the blue­print for a se­ries of epic sports­bikes – 916, 999, 1098, and the cur­rent 1299. Red V-twins have won 330 races in WSB and 17 man­u­fac­turer ti­tles, and have come to de­fine the brand. Think Du­cati sports­bike, think boom­ing big twin. But the FE is the last in the line. This ‘homage to the great Du­cati su­per­sport tra­di­tion’ is be­cause next year’s range-top­ping sports­bike will have twice as many cylin­ders. Du­cati are test­ing a new V4 – vis­ually evolved from the Pani­gale, with a sim­i­lar un­der­belly ex­haust and sin­gle-sided swingarm, it will use lessons from their Mo­togp mis­sile. Go­ing from the spy shots we’ve seen of it be­ing tested on the road and at Mugello cir­cuit, the V4 will have some­thing closer to a reg­u­lar frame too, rather than the mono­coque of the out­go­ing twin. Ex­pect it to be 1000cc – partly be­cause it’s the WSB dis­place­ment limit for a four-cylin­der en­gine, and partly be­cause that’s the size of the Grand Prix bike. Un­less they go for a lower-stressed, larger, more flex­i­ble road ver­sion, and just stick to 1000 for a race ho­molo­ga­tion spe­cial. Of course this doesn’t mean an end to the twins used in ev­ery other bike that Du­cati pro­duce. Their lat­est mo­tors are re­fined, flex­i­ble, clean, sound good, are easy to pack­age and eas­ily match multi-cylin­der ri­vals. They’ll keep that boom that’s the firm’s sig­na­ture. Ex­pect to see a V4 at the EICMA show in Mi­lan at the start of Novem­ber. Mean­while, if you want a new Pani­gale, get your wal­let out.

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