Du­cati V4

Stun­ning Mo­togp-de­rived mis­sile spied in test­ing

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Richard New­land DEPUTY ED­I­TOR

Pics and de­tails at last

‘It will not be ex­otic, but a more reg­u­lar high-end sports­bike’

Ru­mours of a Mo­togp-de­rived V4 road-go­ing Du­cati su­per­bike have been do­ing the rounds for years. But that’s all they were... ru­mours. Un­til now!

Th­ese lat­est spy pic­tures show once and for all that the V4 Du­cati sports­bike lives and breathes. Ever since the firm re­leased their Des­mosedici D16RR Mo­togp replica back in 2007, mo­tor­cy­clists have been wait­ing with bated breath. But that was a decade ago, and Du­cati’s for­tunes have changed al­most as much as the mar­ket.

Even more press­ing, per­haps, are the dra­matic changes in su­per­bike per­for­mance and tech­nol­ogy – com­bined with ever-tight­en­ing emis­sions laws. Du­cati need to make the next jump in per­for­mance for road and race bikes alike – and they can’t do that with the Pani­gale’s Su­perquadro. The re­sult is the im­mi­nent ar­rival of their first full-pro­duc­tion V4 su­per­bike.

We fully ex­pect the new range­top­ping sports­bike to be un­veiled at the Mi­lan show this Novem­ber – ef­fec­tively a home event for the fac­tory. But while Du­cati were hop­ing the world’s at­ten­tion would be fo­cused on their Fi­nal Edi­tion 1299 Pani­gale – set to be re­vealed at the end of the week (see story, top left) – it’s our first tan­ta­lis­ing glimpse of an al­most com­plete V4 that are grab­bing the head­lines.

“I con­firm Du­cati is work­ing on a four-cylin­der engine project for a road bike,” said Du­cati CEO Clau­dio Domeni­cali a few months ago, speak­ing at the firm’s race team press con­fer­ence. And there are huge ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the WSB team, which will also get the new V4 – al­though not un­til 2019, as con­firmed by WSB rac­ing boss Paolo Ci­a­batti: “We will race with the Pani­gale for 2017 and 2018, so ob­vi­ously we will keep de­vel­op­ing the engine to be com­pet­i­tive.”

While the road bike is set to ar­rive be­fore it’s used in su­per­bike rac­ing, there’s no doubt that com­pe­ti­tion is what’s driv­ing the new model. “The engine de­vel­op­ment that we have made in Mo­togp is ex­cep­tional – we have an engine that is very light, very re­li­able, and with a lot of very in­ter­est­ing tech­nol­ogy. We are se­ri­ously think­ing about mak­ing that avail­able to reg­u­lar cus­tomers be­cause it is re­ally a master­piece of en­gi­neer­ing – of course trans­lated into some­thing that can be sold at a rea­son­able, but pre­mium, price – so it will not be ex­otic like the Des­mosedici, but a more reg­u­lar high- end sports­bike. We would ab­so­lutely race this in WSB,” con­tin­ued Domeni­cali.

This means that the new engine must be sub-1000cc in this V4 con­fig­u­ra­tion due to su­per­bike engine reg­u­la­tions, but – just like the cur- rent Pani­gale – there is an ex­pec­ta­tion that this will lead to a split in the road range. There will be a 1000cc V4 ho­molo­ga­tion edi­tion, with an R in its name, while there’s likely to be a fur­ther pair of road mod­els (stan­dard and S) which could boast a 1200cc V4.

All that ties into the images you see here. It’s bla­tantly a V4, clearly a road bike, and overtly styled to make the switch to life on track with­out los­ing any of its cues. It’s also ob­vi­ous that this is a well-ad­vanced test mule, fit­ted with many parts – rather than an early pro­to­type with cob­bled-to­gether so­lu­tions. The fact that a Fi­nal Edi­tion Pani­gale will be an­nounced this week also con­firms that this will be a 2018 ma­chine – leav­ing the only mys­ter­ies as the spec fig­ures, and its name.

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