Stunning Motogp-derived missile spied in testing
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.