Around a Ducati motorcycle there is always a growing enthusiasm, in particular when the main topic becomes the Panigale V4. Powering the Panigale is an overwhelming engine (the 1,103 cm3 Desmosedici Stradale), combined with an agile chassis, extraordinary brake system and an even more refined electronics. All excellent features (in addition, its design won some prestigious prizes) which has made the Panigale V4 one of the best-selling (25%) super sports bikes of the last two years. As a matter of facts it achieved numbers that in these days, believe me, are considered out of the ordinary for this category. All these elements however were not enough to win our comparison tests and
I explain you why. The Panigale can go extremely fast but in short it is a so refined, technologically advanced, unique bike that needed to be explored and understood in depth. Only in this way it will it be able to fully express its huge potential. So, consider that Ducati experts went in the opposite direction: they in fact focused their attention on the 214 hp and 124 Nm of torque of the V4 engine making them available for the rider not only for one but also for numerous laps. For this reason the contribution of the Ducati engineers covers different areas of the bike: from electronics to chassis to aerodynamics. Even the design has been revised, starting with the fairing. The Panigale V4 takes this element from the V4 R, aerofoils included. The “aero package” (named like this by Ducati) is now wider, even more protective and effective.
Additionally it can dissipate better the considerable heat produced by the Ducati V4 engine. I have already told you about aerofoils several times: they are similar to those mounted on the sportier Panigale and increase overall downforce (+30 kg at 270 kph). The new Panigale V4 S shares with the “R” also the “front frame”. It results more flexible than that mounted on both Panigale Panigale V4 and V4 S, it should improve the feedback during braking and full bending. Other distinctive features include suspension set-up and fork calibration. The fork mounting has been lowered 4 mm, the rear shock is shorter by 2 mm, while the suspension now has two link rods. The result? A 5 mm higher bike center of gravity.
On the electronics front, in order to manage the V4 overwhelming power properly, Ducati revised the Riding Modes “Race” and “Sport”. The aim? Be able to turn faster and arrive more easily. I must remind you that this is a Ducati and it will always be a Ducati. In some ways, however, it wants to get closer to those rivals who perhaps do not achieve the same unique performance but, at the same time, have bet on exploitability and efficacy. Let’s get on track to see if this babe can hold promise. I just got off the Panigale V4 and I must say that I am very impressed by the great job done by Ducati experts. In short, they didn’t change the unique character of this bike, I mean, its soul. Its character now results less sharp and more “human”. As mentioned before, the bike has not been completely revised in its appearance, but let me say that when you change the frame, heights, suspension set-up… then it is clear that the bike changes its character as consequence. Unfortunately, the tank still remains very compact and narrow and it does not offer reliable anchor points when braking. The character of the engine has not changed either, but it is better exploitable from every point of view, especially during the fist phase of acceleration when exiting the curve. Consider that the Panigale always remains “a world apart”. Some exclusive, inner features of this V4 project did not change. It is a motorcycle that allows you to to take advantage of its extraordinary resources, even if you’re not a rider. The most agile, the best braking of all… these features stand out in each comparison and here they are today too, on the Bahrein Circuit. Adding a detail: the Panigale V4 has become more precise, always overwhelming during acceleration but better managed by the throttle. Ducati introduces the aerofoils as well as some updates concerning the chassis. The V4 probably seems slightly less performing when turning direction or during speed of execution, ex. entering the curve The best part is yet to come. I mean that the this new machine is now even more precise. You can feel the front end. Furthermore the delicate phase hard braking/entering the curve takes place with a great fluidity. This great feeling combined with the great precision allow the rider to push hard to the limit. The new Panigale V4 significantly improved even if hasn’t achieved the level of the DNA features of its rivals, in closing the curve. Moreover you can also feel a bit of understeer. Thanks to the new airfoils the front end results more stable. In short, you can maintain full control of the motorbike even when the asphalt results not perfect. What about the engine? The only adjective that comes to my mind is “stormy”. But in the end also the V4 gives its contribution on the overall improvement of the bike, thanks to the new torque delivery control strategy which lets the rider stabilise more easily on the desired throttle aperture through and out of the corners. To sum things up, I’m looking forward to seeing how what I call Panigale V4 2.0 will behave in our 2020 comparison tests, The appetizers I tasted here in Bahrein are extremely juicy. In conclusion, despite the tank the Panigale V4 MY2020 is more comfortable. The lateral fairings results wider, with the dual aim of reducing rider airflow impact and resulting less tiring to ride. Furthermore it enhances rider confidence. This is another winning value of the brand new version if compared to the previous.