In the fourth episode of the Ducati World Première web series, the Bologna-based manufacturer presented the new Panigale V4 R (watch the video here). With this bike, Ducati once again confirms its vocation: to offer brand enthusiasts the most sophisticated and refined technological solutions by delivering a street-legal superbike that’s even closer to the Panigale race bike used in the WorldSBK Championship.
It has new carbon wings and MotoGP-inspired livery, including the number “1.” For the first time, the V4 R will be produced in a numbered series with the progressive number and model name shown on the billet aluminum top triple clamp.
The new 998cc Desmosedici Stradale R is the heart of the Panigale V4 R, an engine capable of reaching a maximum engine speed of 16,500 rpm in sixth gear (16,000 in the gears) and delivering a maximum power of 207 horsepower at 13,500 rpm — an absolute benchmark in the panorama of supersport motorcycles of the same displacement. By fitting the racing exhaust, the full potential of the engine is released, the Stradale R producing 237 horsepower, 3 horsepower more than the predecessor.
The new Panigale V4 R’s engine development also involved the creation of a special oil developed by Shell in collaboration with Ducati Corse. The new performance oil guarantees a 10% reduction in mechanical friction, resulting in a 3.5-horsepower increase in maximum power, which rises to 4.5-plus horsepower at the limiter.
The Shell oil uses racing-type additives, specific for high-rpm engines equipped with a dry clutch, such as the new Panigale V4 R. Just as in MotoGP and WorldSBK engines, a dry clutch allows the use of additives that cause transmission problems in a traditional oil-bath 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.
The Panigale V4 R can produce an extraordinary 240.5 horsepower with the complete racing exhaust and dedicated Shell oil.
These numbers are possible due 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 (0.06-inch diameter hole). This solution allows an oil passage from the head to the small end, improving lubrication and reliability in extreme conditions.
For the first time on a road engine. the Desmosedici Stradale R pistons use a diamond-like carbon (DLC) surface treatment, a solution used in MotoGP and Formula 1 racing competitions, which reduces friction between the piston and cylinder liner. The pistons also have a new geometry that makes them 0.04 ounces (5 grams) lighter (equal to 2% of their weight), reducing the forces of inertia to the benefit of reliability.
Other changes include a more aggressive profile of the intake cams that have an increased lift of 0.03 inches (1 millimeter) and are matched to new variable-length horns, which are reduced by 0.2 inches (5 millimeters). This modification improves breathing at high revolutions and increases maximum power when matched with the racing exhaust.
To improve on-track performance, the Panigale V4 R adopts the same gear ratios used by WorldSBK Panigale race bikes, an update first used on the 2022 Panigale V4 S. The gear ratios are lengthened in first (+ 11.6%), second (+ 5.6%) and sixth gear (+ 1.8%) compared to the previous V4 R. The taller first gear becomes more usable on the track, offering the benefits of improved 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 — the subject of an important evolution of improving fluidity at every degree of throttle opening — to work more effectively.
The 2023 Desmosedici Stradale R 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 have been reduced by 0.9 inches (24 millimeters) and the weight by 1.8 pounds (800 grams).
The V4 R’s on-track effectiveness is strengthened by the electronic evolutions introduced on the 2022 and 2023 Panigale V4, which include Power Mode expansion, a new “Track Evo” dashboard display, engine maps with calibration dedicated to each single gear, refinements to the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and the Ride By Wire system, and the adoption of the Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO 2 strategy, the new Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) strategy and a cooling fan control update.
To make the Panigale V4 R even faster and more usable in racing, the power mode has been updated with calibrations dedicated to the Desmosedici Stradale R engine. The power modes feature four engine configurations that were all revised for the Panigale V4 R: Full, High, Medium and Low.
Full Power Mode allows the engine to express its full potential with torque curves void of electronic filters — except for the first gear. For the Medium and High Power Modes, a new Ride by Wire map has dedicated calibration for all six gears, ensuring the rider achieves optimum drive every time the throttle is opened. On the other hand, the Low Power Mode has been designed for riding on the road or for low-grip surfaces, limiting the bike’s maximum power to 160 horsepower and offering a more manageable throttle response.
The V4 R operating parameters can be viewed more effectively because of the new dashboard graphics, which differ in a revised distribution of the functions of the warning lights outside the screen. The essential change first introduced on the V4 S is the updated interface that includes a new Info Mode developed by MotoGP riders and called “Track Evo.” This is added to the existing “Road” and “Track.”
To improve stability, precision and directionality in braking and corner entry and to allow the rider to optimize electronic engine configuration for each circuit, the Panigale V4 R adopts (EBC) EVO 2. This electronic engine brake management system features a different gear-by-gear calibration on each of the three selectable levels, refining engine brake intensity.
The Panigale V4 R DQS was also refined. The new DQS improves shifting smoothness at every degree of throttle opening, whether partially or wide open. During shifting under partial throttle, the DQS cuts injection and reduces advance, smoothing shifts that are especially pleasing for road use. During wide-open throttle situations typical of track riding, the DQS utilizes a torque restitution phase that guarantees more stability, which increases lap times.
In addition to these changes, the cooling fan control was updated to manage operating temperatures and heat reduction better. Furthermore, this cooling fan control optimizes comfort for road riders.
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 not approved for public street use). The system activates 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 wet surfaces.
To improve rider feeling when opening and managing the throttle, the system is 50% more compact, characterized by reduced radial and axial clearances. The throttle is also virtually free of initial idle travel, which helps improve lap times. Finally, just like all race bikes, the V4 R arrives with a pit limiter, which limits 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 aluminum swingarm of the Ducati Panigale family. This allows riders to adjust the rear swingarm pivot height in four positions (0.8 in steps).
To increase nimbleness, rider feeling and grip, the Panigale V4 R chassis follows the evolutionary direction traced by the 2022 Panigale V4/V4 S while maintaining fully mechanical suspension adjustment. At the front, the Öhlins NPX25/30 pressurized fork increases its travel by 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) compared to the previous “R.” This technical solution, combined with an Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber, whose center distance goes from 12.3 inches to 12.4 inches (312 to 316 millimeters) and a standard adjustment of the swingarm pivot to the +1 position, increases the rear height by 0.8 inches. This helps the V4 R achieve a higher center of gravity for increased nimbleness during corner entry and direction changes.
The update to a less rigid spring for the shock absorber (from 105 newtons per millimeter to 80 newtons per millimeter) and a lower front ground load due to the lengthening of the fork travel, as well as improving the ability to “copy” the asphalt, accentuates load transfers. This occurs by exploiting greater negative travel of the suspension, which increases grip and feeling when entering corners. Simultaneously, the increased fork travel allows the front wheel to maintain contact with the asphalt during more stressful rear load transfers during acceleration. At the same time, the position of the swingarm pivot accentuates the anti-squat effect by improving stability, precision and ability to maintain the trajectory when driving out of corners. Finally, to quicken and simplify shock preload adjustments, the rear shock absorber is equipped with a hydraulic preload adjuster.
The new Panigale V4 R arrives with a brushed aluminum tank with a capacity increased to 4.5 gallons and a profile that optimizes support for the rider’s arms and legs when braking and cornering. A flatter seat complements the changes to the tank with reduced foam and a different covering. The redesigned seat provides greater freedom of longitudinal movement while helping rider stability 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 plus flap) guarantee the same aerodynamic load but are more compact and thinner (respectively by 40% and 50%).
To improve the engine cooling and stabilizing performance during track use, the fairing has been modified in the layout of the extractors in the lower area, complying with the WorldSBK Championship regulations. Also, an air intake to cool the sensor of the DQS is located on the lower left side.
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. A favorite for track riders is the Akrapovič titanium complete exhaust system with a double under-seat silencer, which improves the already reduced weight/power ratio of the Panigale V4 R thanks to a weight saving of 11 pounds, compared to the standard system and the increase in power up to 237 horsepower. The exhaust is supplied with dedicated mapping for DTC, DWC, DPL and DSC parameters to further improve the Panigale V4 R performance.
Magnesium rims provide additional weight reduction, shaving a further 1.5 pounds (10%) compared to the already light-forged original equipment rims. The magnesium wheels help improve all performance dynamics, especially nimbleness during corner entry and direction changes.
To better adapt the riding position, adjustable aluminum rider footpegs are available, developed by Ducati Corse in collaboration with Rizoma. The footpegs are equipped with articulated brake and shifter pedals to minimize the risk of breakage in the event of a slide. The setup uses the standard DQS, which can be configured both as a traditional shifter and as a reverse/racing shifter.
The pit stop accessory package adds tire warmers and garage stands. Those wishing to use slick or rain tires can choose the DTC EVO 3 software, which introduces the specific calibrations of the electronic controls.
More carbon fiber components are available to further embellish the Panigale V4 R, including rear, mudguard, frame, swingarm, sprocket and crankcase protectors, and front brake cooling ducts. The latter improves track performance and makes braking more efficient and consistent.
The 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R in MotoGP-derived racing livery will retail for $44,995 in the U.S. and $52,995 CAD in Canada with dealership arrivals expected in spring 2023.
A complete overview of the accessories is available on the dedicated section of the Ducati.comwebsite.