OF­FI­CIAL PICS & INFO: Du­cati’s fi­nal big twin sports­bike

Motorcycle News (UK) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR REPORTER

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.

Su­perquadro swan­song

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.

Rac­ing fu­ture

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

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