All Tests – Test Ducati 1199 Panigale S: the red diamond of Bologna – Contact: Ducati reinvents the Hypersport …

Ducati 1199 Panigale S test: the red diamond of Bologna

All Tests - Test Ducati 1199 Panigale S: the red diamond of Bologna - Contact: Ducati reinvents the Hypersport ...

First, its lines combining purity and aggressiveness bewitch … Then its performance as a racing motorcycle takes your breath away … Carved with genius by Italian jewelers, the Ducati 1199 Panigale is the new jewel in the crown of Bologna. Test !

Contact: Ducati reinvents the Hypersport…

Contact. The 1199 Panigale’s injection is initialized and the on-board die console Thin Film Transistor lights up like a Christmas tree. A completely appropriate comparison, because MNC feels like a little boy on the evening of December 24 when he begins his second run with the Ducati on the luxurious and selective !

Derived from the screens of the most recent smartphones, this TFT technology – which appeared last year on motorcycles on the BMW K1600s – brings color and above all perfect visibility to the Panigale’s ultra-rich on-board console (read the section "Instrumentation "of our technical sheet on the last page).

Ready to fire, the v-twin compressed to 12.5: 1 only requires a (long) flick on the starter to begin its recital. And what a recital! If a few die-hards will never forgive Ducati for daring to give up the silencers under the saddle (a distinctive sign since 1994 and the legendary 916), all will appreciate the soundtrack delivered by the elements placed under the engine. !

Deaf, deep and incredibly powerful, the vocalizations of the Panigale place you at the heart of a unique sensory universe. Isolated from the rest of the world by this intimidating mess, we timidly turn the electronic gas handle of the type Ride-by-Wire of a few millimeters, like that, just to see … And the answer falls immediately: the throaty growl becomes more regular and gains (again!) in intensity to remind that of a bomber taking off !

As if devoid of inertia, the twin takes its turns with an undisguised gluttony during the first accelerations to reach the track. Unsurprisingly, the ultra-short stroke of the "Superquadro" gives it a penchant for high revs much more pronounced than on the 1198.

The other side of the coin: the torque of the 1199 Panigale is less important than its predecessor at low and mid-range. Capable of resuming under 3000 rpm on the first reports – on condition of being very gentle on the hyper precise throttle – the new L-twin does not have the trunk of the 1198 between 3500 and 5000 rpm mn.

But let the thrill seekers rest assured: with 132 Nm of torque at 9000 rpm, the Ducati is not a "hollow" motorcycle for all that! Its range of use is simply shifted upwards, which directly influences the way it is driven. Thus, while the 1198 made it possible to come out of a curve with a higher ratio than on a 4-cylinder, the 1199 Panigale asks not to let the engine speed drop below 6000 to extract itself with force..

And strength, this engine is not lacking: less demonstrative "down", the twin Ducati is indeed much more than before "up". After mid-revs, the 1199 Panigale stumbles through the stretchers and accelerates with incredible vigor that only the arrival at the switch stops. A true monster thirsty for high revs, the Superquadro swallows the graduations of the tachometer with a disarming frenzy: never seen on a twin cylinder !

If Troy Bayliss says so…

In second, at the exit of the only hairpin of the circuit, the 1199 Panigale immediately lifts its charming face with aggressive lines towards the sky when the tachometer (very visible) reaches 7000 rpm. This exhilarating display of power continues with each gear that shifts on the fly with exemplary precision and speed thanks to the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), the shifter adopted as standard.

Delivered as explosively as with a BMW S1000RR – which is not the least of the compliments! -, the 195 hp of the Ducati put a strain on a cycle part with extremely lively reactions. Endowed with a fabulous "track touch", the front axle is of a confounding agility: well helped by its wider handlebars which accentuate the lever arm, the 1199 Panigale dives with the rope with a bluffing ease..

Intuitive, the front casts as if it laughs when entering a curve on the brakes and goes from pif to paf with an ease that the 1198 cannot boast, which requires a more authoritative driving and accepts only precise placements in curves, without tolerating much improvisation.

With the 1199 Panigale, there is no need to fight to impose its trajectory: its modified ergonomics, its racing bike rigidity and its featherweight benefit maneuverability and allow the front to be steered with surgical precision. As if placed on a rail, the beautiful line then at the point of rope as if it had a personal account to settle !

Then things take a turn for the worse because the extreme geometry and engine performance from another world require a certain technical background. Tortured by the sudden arrival of power at the exit of a curve, the suspensions and the chassis let slip some movements if the pilot does not take care to tighten the thighs well around the tank and to "load" the front by shifting the upper body towards the bubble.

And even strict adherence to these usual on-track precautions is not always enough to counter the brutal and wild nature of the 1199 Panigale! Whether in curves swallowed full pot or in a straight line, the steering tends to lighten up to fourth gear, while the rear ends up letting some movements escape..

Surprised to be faced with such nervousness – insofar as the Ducati Superbikes have always demonstrated irreproachable stability – Site asked Troy Bayliss to find out his feelings….

"I agree with you: the 1199 Panigale is a "living" motorcycle that moves !", replies the legend of the World Superbike."But personally I like this type of behavior: do not cut the gas and you will see that it remains healthy in all circumstances, even when things start to move.", advises the Australian with a broad smile…

Despite apprehensive skepticism, MNC decides to take advantage of this world-class "private lesson": Troy claims the 1199 Panigale won’t budge? So, gas !

Practical aspects

Developed by and for racing, the 1199 Panigale obviously offers only a few concessions to the needs of the lambda rider who intends to use it on the road: a coded key, an elbow valve at the front, adjustable levers in spacing … and basta! Good news, however: its hydraulic clutch is smooth and progressive, which will save the left hand in town. The volume of the trunk under the passenger seat is anecdotal and its high turning radius. Not to mention that the fingers get stuck in the fairings when turned fully! Finally, the rear shock absorber comes into contact with the left thigh when stationary and the crutch is difficult to unfold, because it is placed under the footrest and devoid of lugs..

And the words of "Baylisstic" are verified quickly: in a long left started in 3rd and finished at bottom of 4th (ie at about 250 km / h), the 1199 Panigale may well blow all its aggressiveness and start to stir under our buttocks , it nonetheless remains riveted on its trajectory and retains all its precision. "It’s the hallmark of all true racing motorcycles !", blows us a Ducati engineer.

Possible, but nonetheless: what will happen outside of this circuit with a coating as smooth as a baby’s skin? How will the Panigale react on the hollows and bumps of the open roads? So many questions that do not really seem to be at the heart of Ducati’s concerns: the word "road" was not mentioned once during the presentation of the Panigale (see box opposite).

Fortunately, an important factor must be taken into account in the context of road use: the electronic aids on board the 1199 Panigale can save you the day if the situation escalates. !

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