Hype is a dangerous thing to generate for any new product: there’s been plenty of it around the Panigale V4. Will it be flawed like the MotoGP bike was until very recently? Will it sacrifice everything Ducati has stood for in the 43 years since it first placed two cylinders at 90 degrees to each other?
Any questions over Ducati’s move into a new world for its flagship sportsbike are now answered. I was on the launch, on Valencia’s extremely technical MotoGP circuit. It’s almost an odd location to launch a bike claiming 214bhp – mostly second/third-gear bends – but what it did was prove the V4’s worth beyond a dyno.
More than any other Ducati superbike (and everyone else’s, I’m confident), its stunning handling, braking, grip and power curve are exploitable from warm-up lap pace right up to the lap times set by Ducati’s test rider, which would have qualified him (just) for the 2017 MotoGP race. There are plenty of other great features in the issue, too, but read it first.
It’s a truly special bike.
In this month's issue of Performance Bikes
Grown-up suspension and styling embellishments transform the already excellent MT-09 into a bike that’s guaranteed to raise your front end...
Lust for Glory
Paton’s hand-built S1-R propelled Michael Rutter to his first petrol TT win in almost two decades. Disgraced ex- editor Matt samples it and barely touches the sides...
Four on the Floor
Ducati’s Panigale V4 is more than just two extra cylinders. More than the extra power. Ditching the trademark twin has allowed them to reach a new height of a ll-round ability that’s far easier to use at any level. It’s a ll the hype, and then some...