Ducati Panigale V4 is a new breed of superbike with MotoGP-based high performance 1,100 cc Stradale engine making 214 hp at the crank
Ducati’s 2018 MY range presentation saw the arrival of the ground-breaking new Panigale V4 superbike just ahead of the 2017 EICMA Show. The bodywork has an evolutionary form of the existing Panigale with tunnelled tail section as lights go till the edges and there are bigger aerodynamic holes.
The speculations of a production V4 Ducati superbike engine derived from MotoGP have come and gone for many years now. But recent spy pictures suggested that the V4 was indeed alive and kicking and spurred up the enthusiasm like never before as the eccentric motorcycle as far as Ducatisti are concerned is arguably the most sought-after bike before making debut this year.
Since the Desmosedici D16RR MotoGP prototype was released back in 2007, the arrival of the road-going V4 has been anticipated. But it was more than a decade ago and a lot has changed in the years in terms of technology and necessity to stick by the stringent emission norms.
The market and buyers’ scope have modernized as much as the bikes themselves. Recently, Ducati introduced the ‘Final Edition’ of the 1299 Panigale range that would effectively give way for an all-new V4 superbike. The famed Italian superbike manufacturer is constantly on-the-look for better performance and the V4 elevates the signature levels of track day craving to a new level.
In need of making the next big transition in road as well as race bike performance while not hurting the environmentalists, Ducati had to step away from the Panigale’s Superquadro and it begged the question of when the V4 would come into existence. The new top-of-the-range superbike has made its way into EICMA in Milan. But just ahead, the V4 engine christened Desmosedici Stradale was showcased at the famous Misano circuit – a storied home debut perhaps.
The word Stradale denotes road in Italian and at the eve of the MotoGP event it has given in-depth picture into the engine that will power Ducati’s newest Superbike street model. The road bike powered by the new engine will go racing in WSBK only in 2019 as the brand is set to compete with the Panigale until the end of next season.
The Desmosedici Stradale is a 1,103 cc V4 engine putting out 214 hp at 13,000 rpm and 120 Nm torque between 8,750 rpm and 12,250 rpm and will change the landscape of the superbike fraternity. Ducati’s success in the MotoGP premiere class with the GP V4 motor has given birth to a road-going version. It has the 90 degree V4 rotated backwards by 42 degrees for an aggressively compact package.
Thanks to maintaining the V configuration, no countershaft is required to balance the engine that can freely rise up to 14,000 rpm. Twin-pulse firing sequence is enabled due to the 70 degree crank offset and resultantly more traction can be had along with production of a distinctive engine sound. Consider it as a big V-twin with the 0-90-290-380 firing order.
It has the same dimension and cylinder heads as the GP engine and due to its compact nature, it is claimed to have helped in optimising the weight distribution and bringing the swingarm forwards along with the inclusion of bigger radiators. The counter-rotating crankshaft minimises gyroscopic effect for better agility and taking cornering. It also reduces wheelies on acceleration and rear wheel lift while slowing down to a halt.
Ducati increased the engine displacement, by having more stroke and maintaining the bore (largest in the segment at 81 mm), to make it usable both on the track as well as the road. It is said to give greater torque curve and extreme power at the low rev band. Several components such as valves, throttle bodies and intakes are shared with the GP engine. The cam systems would have been impossible if Ducati’s Desmodromic valve system is not used on the Stradale.
It has smaller spark plugs than the Superquadro while the valve inspection service interval stays at 15,000 (24,000 km) miles and general service interval at 1 year / 7,500 miles (12,000 km). The Stradale comprises of new air intake system with large 52 mm throttle bodies, two fuel injectors (one below and above the throttle butterfly), new lubrication system with semi-dry sump as the GP bike, wet-clutch with 11 plates coupled to a six-speed transmission, etc.
The 11-plate mechanism will help in better clutch input and an effective slipper clutch system. Despite a couple more extra cylinders and added features, the Stradale engine weighs just 2.2 kilos heavier than the Superquadro at 64.9 kg. The impressive weight comes on the back of aluminium usage in cylinders and magnesium in engine cases, cam covers, alternator, clutch cover and other elements.
Also Read: Upcoming Ducati V4 Superbike Testing Video With Exhaust Note Leaked
As for the design, it is more of an evolution of the Ducati 1299 Panigale. Cornering ABS is standard along with Bosch’s dynamic slide contol and up-and-down quickshifter. The chassis is built directly off the motor using aluminum to create integrated airbox and single-sided swingarm.
The base model uses 43 mm Showa Big Piston forks mated to a fully adjustable Sachs shock and the steering damper is Sachs sourced. The “S” version comes with electronic suspension from Öhlins NIX-30 forks and TTX36 shock, as well as the Öhlins steering damper.
Other important features are lithium-ion battery, forged aluminum Marchesini wheels and cast magnesium subframe making the S version lighter. When the titanium Akrapovic exhaust is used and the ECU given a reflash, Ducati claims the Panigale V4 can make 226 hp with class-leading power-to-weight ratio.