The new Ducati Panigale V4 R is recognizable from the first glance thanks to the presence of carbon wings and MotoGP-inspired livery, which integrates the white plates with the number "1" in evidence. For the first time, the bike will be produced in a numbered series with the progressive number and model name shown on the billet aluminium steering.
The heart of the Panigale V4 R is the new 998 cc Desmosedici Stradale R, an engine capable of reaching a maximum engine speed of 16,500 rpm in sixth gear (16,000 in the other ratios) and delivering a maximum power of 218 hp at 15,500 rpm (Euro-5 compliant*), absolute benchmark values in the panorama of supersports bikes of the same displacement. The new Desmosedici Stradale R, despite all the improvements, delivers slightly reduced performance compared to the previous version due to the limitation generated by the exhaust system complying with the strict Euro-5 homologation. The full potential of this engine, however, is expressed on the track by fitting the racing exhaust, which allows it to reach 237 hp, 3 hp more than the predecessor.
The engine development of the new Panigale V4 R also involved the production of a special oil developed by Shell in collaboration with Ducati Corse. The new performance oil guarantees a 10% reduction in mechanical friction and leads to an increase in maximum power of a further 3.5 hp, which rises to +4.5 hp at the limiter. The formulation of this oil is based on the use of racing-type additives, specific for high-rpm engines equipped with a dry clutch. It is in fact the dry clutch, as in MotoGP and SBK engines, that allows the use of additives, which would make torque transmission problematic in the wet clutch. These chemical elements are added to the base oil in dedicated quantities and percentages to ensure the right balance between performance and engine protection.
With the combination of racing exhaust and dedicated oil, the maximum power output of the Panigale V4 R can therefore reach an extraordinary 240.5 hp.
These numbers are possible thanks to the adoption of sophisticated technical solutions derived from the world of racing competition. For the first time on a road bike, “gun drilled” titanium connecting rods are used, which are drilled longitudinally along the rod (1.6 mm diameter hole). This solution, allowing the passage of oil from the head to the small end, improves lubrication and reliability in extreme conditions.
The pistons of the Desmosedici Stradale R have a skirt characterized by DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) surface treatment, a solution used in MotoGP and Formula 1 racing competition, which reduces friction between piston and liner and which is applied for the first time on a road engine. The pistons also have a new geometry that makes them 5 grams lighter (equal to 2% of their weight) thus reducing the forces of inertia, to the benefit of reliability.
The other changes involve a more aggressive profile of the intake cams, characterized in this version by a greater lift (1 mm) and matched to new variable-length horns, reduced by 5 mm in the short configuration. This modification improves breathing at high revs and thus increases the maximum power in the configuration with racing exhaust.
Again with a view to improving performance on the circuit, the Panigale V4 R adopts the same gear ratios used by the bikes competing in the WorldSBK Championship, as was already the case with the Panigale V4 S 2022, with the lengthening of first (+11.6%), second (+5.6%) and sixth gear (+1.8%) compared to the previous model. First gear therefore becomes more usable in circuit riding, offering the benefits of greater engine management when braking and better acceleration when exiting corners. In addition, the smaller jump between first and second gear allows the Ducati Quick Shift to work more effectively, increasing the effectiveness of the new racing pattern.
The Desmosedici Stradale R in its 2023 version is also equipped with a new dry clutch derived from the development of the version used in the WorldSBK by the official Ducati team. The diameter and axial length of the clutch have been reduced (-24 mm) and above all its weight has dropped by around 800 grams.
The greater effectiveness of the new Panigale V4 R in circuit use is also obtained thanks to the adoption of all the electronic evolutions already introduced on the Panigale V4 '22 and '23, with the expansion and evolution of the Power Modes, new “Track Evo” display on the dashboard, engine maps with calibration dedicated to each single gear, refinements to the Ducati Traction Control and the Ride By Wire system, but also the adoption of the Engine Brake Control EVO 2 strategy, the new strategy for the DQS and the cooling fan control update.
To make the Panigale V4 R even faster and more usable in racing use, the Power Mode logic already successfully implemented on the Panigale V4 and V4 S has been adopted, naturally with calibrations dedicated to the Desmosedici Stradale R engine.
There are four engine strategies: Full, High, Medium, Low. Full and Low are newly designed, while the High and Medium configurations have been revised. Full Power Mode allows the engine to express its full potential with torque curves without electronic filters, except for first gear. For the Medium and High Power Modes, a new Ride by Wire map management system has been developed with dedicated calibration for each of the six gears, which ensures the rider always obtains optimum drive every time the throttle is opened. The Low Power Mode, on the other hand, has been designed for riding on the road or for low-grip surfaces, limiting the maximum power of the bike to 160 hp and offering a particularly manageable throttle response.
The motorcycle operating parameters can be viewed even more effectively thanks to the new dashboard graphics, which differ in a revised distribution of the functions of the warning lights outside the screen. The most important change on the Panigale V4 R, already introduced on the V4 S, concerns the interface, which evolves by means of the inclusion of a new Info Mode, developed by the MotoGP riders and called "Track Evo", which is added to the already existing "Road" and "Track".
To improve stability, precision and directionality in braking and corner entry phases and allow the rider to define more precisely the best electronic engine configuration on each circuit, the Panigale V4 R also adopts the Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO 2. This electronic engine brake management system features a different gear-by-gear calibration on each of the three selectable levels. The strategy was developed to optimize the intensity of the engine brake as a function of the load on the rear axle.
The Panigale V4 R adopts a new strategy for the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) which improves the fluidity of shifting at every degree of opening of the throttle, both when the latter is partialized and when it is completely open, dealing with the two different situations in a different way.
In partialized throttle shifting, the strategy acts both by means of an injection cut of the previous strategy and with a reduction in advance, making the action smoother in road use thanks to the absence of engine shutdowns and re-starts. In fully open throttle shifting, typical of track use, the DQS strategy is refined with an evolution of the torque restitution phase that guarantees more stability to the bike and a more homogeneous and therefore more profitable drive in the lap time.
In addition to these changes, there is also an update of the cooling fan control strategy, now able to offer better management of operating temperatures while also reducing the accumulation of heat typical of the conclusion of track sessions. Furthermore, this strategy guarantees greater thermal comfort for the rider at the typical speeds of road use.
For those who use the Panigale V4 R only on the track, the Bologna-based company has developed the specific Ducati Performance DTC EVO 3 software for slicks and rain tires (sold as an accessory, and which makes the V4 R not approved for road circulation open to traffic), which now also allows to activate the flashing operation of the rear position light, as required by racing regulations in case of rain, and replaces the Street Riding Mode with a Rain Mode specifically designed for use on wet surfaces.
To improve rider feeling when opening and managing the throttle, a new throttle control that is 50% more compact and characterized by radial and axial clearances reduced to a minimum, as well as being virtually free of initial idle travel, has been adopted. Finally, as on racing bikes, there is a Pit Limiter to limit the speed at the exit and entry of the pit lane.
The Panigale V4 R continues with the layout based on the “Front Frame” and single-sided aluminium swingarm of the Ducati Panigale family. It is possible to adjust the height of the rear swingarm pivot in 4 positions in 2 mm steps.
To increase nimbleness, rider feeling and grip, the chassis of the Panigale V4 R also follows the evolutionary direction traced by the Panigale V4/V4 S with the 2022 model, while maintaining fully mechanical suspension adjustment. At the front, the Öhlins NPX25/30 pressurized fork increases its travel by 5 mm compared to the previous "R". This technical solution, combined with an Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber whose centre distance goes from 312 to 316 mm and a standard adjustment of the swingarm pivot to the +1 position, increases the rear height by 20 mm. In this way, a higher centre of gravity is achieved and therefore greater nimbleness in corner entry and changes of direction.
The adoption of a less rigid spring for the shock absorber (from 105 N/mm to 80 N/mm) and a lower ground load on the front due to the lengthening of the fork travel, as well as improving the ability to "copy” the asphalt, accentuates load transfers by exploiting the greater negative travel of the suspension, increasing grip and feeling when entering corners. At the same time, the greater travel of the fork allows the front wheel to maintain contact with the asphalt even when faced with more accentuated load transfers towards the rear during acceleration, while the position of the swingarm pivot accentuates the anti-squat effect by improving stability, precision and ability to maintain the trajectory when coming out of corners.
Finally, to speed up and simplify calibration, the rear shock absorber is equipped with a hydraulic adjuster for preload.
The bodywork of the bike have also been updated, with the adoption of a brushed aluminium tank with a capacity increased to 17 litres and a profile that offers better support for the rider's arms and legs when braking and when cornering. The changes to the tank are added to a flatter saddle, with a reduced amount of foam and with a different covering, which on the one hand guarantees greater freedom of longitudinal movement, and on the other helps the rider to become more stable when necessary.
On the Panigale V4 R the aerodynamic package has also been revised with a view to greater efficiency: the new two-element wings (main + flap) guarantee the same aerodynamic load, but are more compact and thinner (respectively by 40% and 50%). To improve the cooling of the engine, stabilizing its performance in extreme use on the circuit, the fairing has been modified in the layout of the extractors in the lower area and complies with the World Superbike Championship regulations. Also in the lower part, on the left side, there is an air intake to cool the sensor of the Ducati Quick Shift.
To further increase efficiency in track use, Ducati Performance offers a wide range of accessories with which to complete and embellish the Panigale V4 R. It starts with the Akrapovič titanium full exhaust system with double under-seat silencer, which improves the already reduced weight/power ratio of the V4 R thanks to a weight saving of 5 kg compared to the standard system and the increase in power up to 237 hp. The exhaust is supplied with dedicated mapping with which all DTC, DWC, DPL and DSC parameters are adjusted to the new performance of the bike. Further lightening is possible by fitting the magnesium rims, which guarantee a saving of 0.7 kg (-10%) compared to the already light forged original equipment rims, improving all aspects of dynamics and above all nimbleness in corner entry and in changes of direction.
To better adapt the riding position, adjustable aluminium rider footpegs are available, developed by Ducati Corse in collaboration with Rizoma. They are equipped with articulated brake and shifter pedals to minimize the risk of breakage in the event of a slide, and they use the standard DQS, which can be configured both as a traditional shifter and as a reverse/racing shifter.
The Pit Stop accessory package offers tyre warmers and garage stands to enable to approach your track sessions in the best of conditions. Those wishing to use Slick or Rain tyres can choose the DTC EVO 3 software, which introduces the specific calibrations of the electronic controls.
To further embellish the Panigale V4 R it is also possible to adopt one or more of the carbon fibre components for the bodywork, from the rear mudguard to protections for the frame, swingarm, sprocket and crankcase, even arriving at details such as the ducts for the cooling of the front brakes, which improve performance on the track and make braking more efficient and consistent.