RUTTER TEST

There’s no fight more fu­ri­ous than at the top of the food chain. Michael Rutter wal­lops the best of the best to find the elec­tron­i­cally-sus­pended apex preda­tor

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words John McAvoy Pho­tog­ra­phy Chippy Wood, Si­mon Lee & Jamie Mor­ris

Du­cati Panigale V4 S vies with Yamaha YZF-R1M for top su­per­bike hon­ours

SINCE THE FIRST WHISPERINGS a year ago of an all-new Panigale from Du­cati, with a MotoGP-de­rived V4 en­gine, we at PB have been lick­ing our lips at the prospect of what it might do to the Rutter Test leader­board. Would it set a whole new bench­mark and make the cur­rent crop of litre bikes look de­cid­edly av­er­age, or would it barely move the dial and sim­ply val­i­date how we’ve never had it so good to­day?

Chris rode it at its of­fi­cial launch in Spain, Johnny rode it on the roads of South­ern France, and Rutter rode one round the TT course... re­ally fast. It left all three of them speech­less.

Mean­while, over at Yamaha, while everyone else was

dis­tracted by Du­cati’s force of na­ture, they were busy pol­ish­ing the al­ready bril­liant R1M. The sus­pen­sion got an up­grade to the very same sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion semi-ac­tive Öh­lins kit worn by the Panigale V4 S, and its elec­tron­ics got a lot of at­ten­tion, too, not that they re­ally needed a whole­sale re­think. The newly added au­to­blip­per was much ap­pre­ci­ated, though.

Th­ese two bikes rep­re­sent the very top of the tech­no­log­i­cal and per­for­mance food chain. There are no other pro­duc­tion sports­bikes with as much power on tap, as much tech­ni­cal voodoo, and as high a spec­i­fi­ca­tion. So, to bring some bal­ance, we’ve brought along our very own, plain and sim­ple Michael Rutter to see what they’ve got.

All the bikes we’re in­clud­ing in this year’s Don­ing­ton Park Rutter Test wear Met­zeler Racetec RR rub­ber. The K3 com­pound rub­ber pro­vides a level play­ing field for our test sub­jects, and al­lows them to per­form at their best.

YAMAHA YZF-R1M

186.33bhp • 202.2kg • £19,399 Gets a lot of small up­grades in the soft­ware de­part­ment, and one big one in the sus­pen­sion de­part­ment. Evo­lu­tion rather than rev­o­lu­tion.

K-TECH SUS­PEN­SION

Each of our Rutter Test bikes is given the at­ten­tion of James Harpham of K-Tech, to eval­u­ate their stan­dard set­tings, make ad­just­ments, and set each bike up to al­low the quick­est pos­si­ble lap. They’ll do the same for you, for just £45. www.ktech­sus­pen­sion.com

DU­CATI PANIGALE V4S

202.57bhp • 201.0kg • £19,649 Brand new, from the ground up. Only the Panigale name sur­vives. Twin pulse, counter-ro­tat­ing crossplane crank V4 mo­tor is the head­line fea­ture.

MICHAEL RUTTER

Mul­ti­ple TT, BSB and Ma­cau GP win­ner Cur­rently rac­ing a BMW S1000RR, but was blown away by the V4 when he caned it round the TT for PB ear­lier this year.

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