In 2019 a quarter of a century will have elapsed since the Ducati 916 arrived on the global stage, forever changing the Superbike world. Born from Massimo Tamburini’s sketches, this bike has revolutionized the world of motorcycle design and has made fans fall in love all over the planet. Incredibly innovative in its style, elegance, lightweight and compactness, by many it’s believed to be the sexiest and most iconic bike ever built.
The Ducati 916 wasn’t just a beautiful bike and an enormous sales success. It also won World Superbike championships: the 916 SBK was a force to be reckoned with even as it made its debut in 1994, and the following years saw it win 120 races, 8 constructors’ titles and 6 riders’ titles, four of them with Carl Fogarty. The Englishman has won 55 races with Ducati, of wich 43 riding a Ducati 916 SBK and 996 SBK. “King Carl” and the 916 remain the most successful “couple” in Ducati SBK history.
Ducati has decided to celebrate this anniversary by building a special 916-dedicated version of the Panigale V4. Hence the genesis of the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916: a unique limited-edition bike of only 500 pieces, designed to let all true Ducatisti re-live the spirit of the 916.
The “25° Anniversario 916” is built on the mechanics of the Panigale V4 S. This has been upgraded with racing content from the Panigale V4 R such as the Front Frame, designed to Ducati Corse specifications. The look of the bike combines a special livery with forged magnesium wheels, a titanium type-approved Akrapovič exhaust and a long list of Ducati Performance components.
The Panigale V4. A bike that begins an exciting new chapter in the Ducati story, a new “symphony” of allItalian performance and emotion. The Panigale V4 is the first production Ducati motorcycle to mount a four-cylinder engine, derived directly from the MotoGP Desmosedici. It’s a concentrate of Ducati technology, style and performance. With an engine displacement of 1,103 cm3, 214 hp and a power/weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg, this bike sets a new standard in the supersport production bike segment and for 2019 is also available in the new livery Corse, inspired by the colors of the bikes that race in MotoGP.
The Panigale V4 replaces the iconic 1299 at the top of the Ducati superbike range, doing so by enhancing performance and ridability so that riders of all skill levels can enjoy boundless fun and excitement. The Panigale V4 has been developed in close collaboration with Ducati Corse, drawing directly on know-how and technology from the racing world to provide a road bike that is the closest thing possible to its MotoGP counterpart.
The outstanding performance of the Panigale V4 is underlined by a completely new design which, while it follows on from that of the supersport bikes that preceded it, now even more effectively transmits the power and essentialness of Ducati racing bikes. The Panigale V4 name combines the alluring “Panigale” tag with the “V4” designation that marks the break with the past, indicating the start of a whole new era for the Bologna-based bike manufacturer.
The new Ducati superbike family consists of the Panigale V4 – the essence of the new sports bike – and the Panigale V4 S. The latter mounts Öhlins suspension featuring the Smart EC 2.0 system with a new adjustment interface and top-drawer components such as forged aluminium wheels and the lithium ion battery. Completing the range is the exclusive Panigale V4 Speciale, a numbered, limited-edition bike with a dedicated livery, titanium exhaust and machined from solid components.
The philosophy followed by the Panigale V4 development team mirrors the approach taken by Ducati when developing a racing bike: total integration of engine, chassis and rider. To achieve that goal MotoGP-derived technology has been employed. Development has involved Ducati Corse technicians and riders, making the Panigale V4 a production sports bike that comes close to being a MotoGP prototype, built for both excellent on-track performance and outstanding on-road ridability.
The Desmosedici Stradale engine is a 90° V4 with Desmodromic timing, just like the Desmosedici GP from which it also takes an 81 mm bore (the maximum allowed by MotoGP rules). This has been combined with a longer stroke than that used in racing (giving a total displacement of 1,103 cm³) to boost low-to-mid rev torque and reduce maximum revs so that the power is easier to handle. The new Ducati engine puts out a maximum of 214 hp at 13,000 rpm, making the Panigale V4 the most powerful bike in the segment, yet easy to handle thanks to a torque of 12.6 Kgm at 10,000 rpm. Despite such outstanding performance, the Desmosedici Stradale has long maintenance intervals, with valve clearance inspection only necessary every 24,000 km.
The Panigale V4 engine is the only one in the sports segment with a 90° V configuration. It’s also the only engine to use technology such as the counter-rotating crankshaft and twin pulse ignition. These solutions have a positive impact on bike dynamics, making it more agile during changes of direction, fast and stable on the straight and ensuring easier out-of-the-corner torque handling. The already high power of the standard Desmosedici Stradale configuration can be boosted to 226 hp by mounting the all-titanium racing exhaust, made by Akrapovič as per Ducati Corse specifications.
To contain the inevitable weight gain with respect to the 1299 Panigale (because of the 4 cylinders) Ducati has developed an all-new frame where the Desmosedici Stradale itself has a load-bearing function. Called Front Frame, it’s more compact and lighter than a perimeter frame and uses the engine as a stressed chassis element. This solution ensures the right torsional rigidity for on-the-edge riding and gives riders outstanding “feel”. The Front Frame has allowed the designer to create a bike that is slender in the tankseat merge zone: this, together with seat/handlebar/footpeg triangulation, ensures perfect bike-rider integration. Together with meticulous design and the use of light materials, the new frame keeps the kerb weight of the S and Special versions down to 195 kg. This weight, combined with the 214 hp, means a power/weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg, putting the Panigale V4 S at the top of the sport bike segment.
The Panigale V4 doesn’t just set new performance standards. Thanks to the potential of the six-axis Bosch inertial platform, a latest-generation electronics package with some previously unseen features defines new active safety and dynamic vehicle control standards in all riding situations. The Panigale V4 introduces controls such as controlled drift during braking, ABS Cornering on the front wheel only thanks to a set-up specially designed for track riding and Quickshift Up & Down with a strategy that takes lean angles into account. All these controls – developed on the track together with official Ducati riders and test riders – are incorporated in the three new Riding Modes (Race, Sport and Street) and can be adjusted via the advanced TFT panel that makes the Panigale V4 the highest-tech bike in the category.
The presentation of the bike was also an occasion of remembrance, honouring Californian Carlin Dunne, the Spider Grips Ducati team rider who recently died at Pikes Peak. Jason Chinnock announced Ducati’s decision to remove the number 5 from selling, the same number that Dunne used to race with.
The Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 will arrive in dealerships starting from October 2019 at a price of 41.900 euro ex-works. Price is country specific.