16th Oct 2018 4:10 pm
The supersport motorcycle will feature a V4 motor downsized to 1,000cc for meeting WSBK regulations.
The arrival of a Ducati Panigale V4 R is imminent. We always knew this bike would come into existence, as the current Panigale V4, with its engine capacity of 1,194cc, doesn’t adhere to the Superbike World Championship (WSBK) regulations. Like with the previous-generation model, this Panigale will be called the R and it will have to be a lower-capacity offering so that it can meet the WSBK limit of 1,000cc for four-cylinder motorcycles (1,200cc for twin-cylinder).
The V4’s predecessor, the 1,285cc 1299 Panigale, had to be brought down to 1,198cc to help meet the regulation. Ducati moved from the iconic L-twin to the V4 layout in order to prolong its career in WSBK racing and also for the fact its MotoGP machine also employs a V4 powerplant.
The V4 R spotted on this occasion, however, could be the race bike and not the production bike as it can be seen using bare carbon-fibre fairings, and also sports lever guards; all the lights and mirrors are also missing. The spy image reveals the bike’s new fairing, which we believe will make it to the road version as well. It sports two large gill-like openings on the right side, which we assume could be for improved cooling or more efficient aerodynamics.
While the bike spotted testing isn’t fitted with winglets, we might see the same on the final product as WSBK now allows for it. The V4 R also ditches the hydraulic wet clutch, which can be found on other V4 models, for a dry clutch. Also noticeable are the lightweight, forged-magnesium Marchesini wheels from the V4 Speciale. Further hinting that this is the race bike are the spy shots that reveal a reworked exhaust system – it is significantly more compact than the Euro-IV compliant system on the current Panigale V4.
Motorcycle.com suggests that the V4 R race bike will make its public debut this weekend at Brands Hatch circuit. The production variant, however, will most likely make its debut at the EICMA motorcycle show next month.