THE LAST PANIGALE!
OFFICIAL PICS & INFO: Ducati’s final big twin sportsbike
All good things must come to an end, and this new 1299 Panigale R Final Edition is the last hurrah for the V-twin superbike that has been such a dominant force since its debut in 2012. To mark the end of an era – not just for the model, but for the V-twin being the firm’s flagship superbike offering – Ducati have taken the very best element of the exiting range, and combined them to produce the ultimate version – then wrapped it in the colours of the Italian flag for its final send-off.
The Final Edition is dramatically more than a pretty paintjob special edition, representing a sort of greatest hits Panigale medley that combines elements of the standard 1299 Panigale S, the homologation-special Panigale R, and the ultra high-end £72,000 Superleggera model.
The engine is a refined version of the one featured in the recent 1299 Superleggera, and that means it’s pumping out similar performance figures, too – at a claimed 206.5hp at 11,000rpm and 104.7ftlb at 9000rpm. The Superquadro engine in the FE shares the same lightened crankshaft and tungsten balancing webs as the Superleggera along with its larger intake and exhaust valves and a highlift cam. It’s also got two-segment 116mm pistons, the new clutch from the Superleggera and a high-flow air-intake system with optimised intakes for each cylinder. All this breathes out via the official Ducati titanium Akrapovic exhaust, with twin high-level silencers – the Wsb-aping cherry on this road-going cake.
The chassis set-up is the same as the existing Panigale R. There’s no frame per se, so the Final Edition has the diecast aluminium monocoque structure from the R that simply exists to join the bike’s front-end to the engine, which is essentially the main frame spar. Then there’s top-spec non-electronic Öhlins with a 43mm NIX 30 USD fork up front, and the regulation TTX36 monoshock propping up the rear. There’s also more Swedish yellow and gold for the adjustable steering damper. The rest of the kit is equally factory-race spec, with Brembo M50 monobloc calipers, threespoke forged alloy wheels and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres.
The Final Edition may be unusually analogue in terms of suspension, but comes with a whole host of electronic rider aids that form a stunning glossary of abbreviations. There’s DWC EVO (wheelie control), EBC (engine braking control), DQS (quickshifter and autoblipper), DTC EVO (cornering ABS and traction control), and the Gps-enabled DDA+ (data logger) – all of which is managed by the six-axis IMU (inertial measurement unit) brain.
The Panigale R Final Edition doesn’t just mark the end of a road bike range – it also signals the beginning of the end of the V-twin race bike. Over the last 30 years, Ducati’s V-twin race bikes have taken 330 World Superbike victories but advances from arch rivals have meant that the twins are no longer competitive and the engines have diverged considerably from the road bikes.
So it came as no real surprise when Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali admitted earlier this year that they would replace their superbike with an allnew four-cylinder bike. Then, just two weeks ago, we brought you spy shots of the new V4 that will replace the Panigale and which is set to debut in WSB in 2019 – granting the V-twin one last year of competition before it’s retired. The V4 road bike is expected to be unveiled at the Milan show this November, and to be on sale next year
Form a line
The Final Edition is a numbered series but Ducati say that it’s not a limited production run – so they’ll continue to make it until demand subsides. The model is Euro4 compliant, which means it’ll be the only 1299 Panigale potentially available beyond 2018 – but it’s unlikely it will still be in production at that point.
So, if you have £34,995 at your disposal, adore the Tricolore paintjob, and the inevitable allure of owning a slice of Ducati history, stroll down to your local dealer from late-july and get your name on the list.
‘The Final Edition is a kind of greatest hits Panigale medley’
WSB stars Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri put the new Panigale FE through its paces