Ducati Panigale Superleggera V4 in the driving report

Ducati Panigale Superleggera V4 in the driving report

First ride with the Supersport rocket

Just a look at the technical data of the Ducati Panigale Superleggera V4 makes your pulse race. We had the pleasure of running the Italian supersport rocket on the racetrack.

It’s going wrong … it’s too fast, it’s not going well. It will land soon S.superleggera in the gravel bed. Ducati meant it so well. First a few laps in Mugello with a V4 R to warm up, look for braking points. And now, first lap with the Superleggera, end of start / finish, full shower, and the braking point no longer works at all. Too much speed. Pulse and adrenaline levels snap up, the brakes grab as if the Duc had thrown a catch hook, lies as if concreted and hits the turning point with centimeter accuracy – all clear for the nerves.

Superleggera number three

With the third Superleggera after 1199 and 1299 with V2, Ducati now also has a super light one (in Italian "Superleggera") V4 superbike put on its wheels and really pulled out all the stops. It starts with the base: the already exclusive V4 R, 40,000 euros expensive homologation model for the Superbike World Championship, serves as the starting point. Why the V4 R with 1000 and not the V4 S with 1100 V4? "Because the Superleggera is street legal, but has a clear view of the race track. And the V4 R and its 1000cc engine have already been heavily optimized for this purpose", explains Carlo Maccarini from the Ducati Superbike development department. "The engineers were allowed to start with a blank sheet of paper and let off steam".


The Panigale Superleggera V4 is limited to 500 copies.

Obviously, they must have had a tremendous drive and even more fun. The result: 159 kg dry weight meet 224 hp. You have to let that set first. Lighter than a World Championship Superbike. And street legal. Because the V4 is already bursting at the seams with performance and revving, an additional power injection was superfluous. The durability benefits. After all, it rotates up to an astronomical 16,500 rpm. And its 224 hp shouldn’t have any trouble with the flyweight anyway. The extreme weight reduction was made possible by the massive use of carbon fiber and titanium. Akrapovic complete exhaust made of titanium – a matter of honor. Most screws are also made of titanium.

Race kit included

But the chassis shoots the bird. The front and rear frames are made of carbon fiber, as are the swingarm and wheels. Sure, we already know some of this, but not with homologation. The thing is allowed on the street. Including the monstrous wings on the carbon fiber fairing, which are derived from the 2016 MotoGP racers and further refined. At 270 km / h they should generate 50 kilograms more contact pressure. Incidentally, that is 60% more than with the V4 R. Just imagine two full crates of beer and you have a rough idea of ​​what that roughly means.


Ducati would like to have 100,000 euros for the Superleggera.

Of course, the Ohlins spring elements also save weight. The NPX25 / 30 fork and the TTX36 damper with its titanium spring contribute around 600 grams to the weight reduction. And the engine has also slimmed down a bit. For example, the oil pump unit consisting of three pumps was replaced by one with two pumps – with the same delivery rate. The oil supply in the engine had to be modified for this. If that’s not enough: The race kit supplied saves just under seven kilos, thanks to the Akrapovic titanium racing exhaust, and releases 234 hp, which then drops to 152.2 kilos.

Enchanting lightness is very impressive

It’s crazy how the V4 fires the flyweight around the track, pulling it up the climb to Arrabiata 2. As if shot from a catapult, the Superleggera sweeps over the 1.1 kilometer long home straight. 300 km / h on the speedometer are reached shortly before the finish line. Up the little hilltop, braking from San Donato just before the 200 meter sign and … the Brembo Stylema R brake calipers, together with the 330 mm discs, mercilessly and finely dosed the speed together. Round by round. On the Superleggera, braking is at least as much fun as accelerating. Huge acceleration, brute braking power – that is spectacular, but what is actually amazing is how easily the Superleggera does this. Feather-light handling, almost effortless diving down into ever deeper inclines, in addition it manages that you can always draw the line a little tighter at the exit of the curve when the pressure is on. Despite the extreme key data, the Superleggera refrains from any beastliness. Even when accelerating hard to the start-finish, it only allows itself a gentle, soft pumping at the rear. The suspension elements deliver a fantastic performance, the chassis set-up is great cinema. It is almost uncanny how gently, almost imperceptibly, the newly tuned electronics, from banking ABS to traction control, watch over the action in the background.


The Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP is fitted as standard.

The rigidity of the chassis and front frame have been significantly reduced compared to the V4 R, which benefits drivability and feedback. The technicians, for example with the electronics, were able to draw on the experiences from the MotoGP and the Superbike World Championship. The same applies to the 15 mm longer swing arm. No capricious straight-line stability, which the first V4 still partially knew, no wildly prancing rear end during rough braking maneuvers. Plus the enchanting ease with which she scurries through the fast Biondetti chicane. The V4 R had already requested significantly more effort. You don’t feel anything of the enormous pressure of the wing – except that it masters all situations with sovereign nonchalance. No lifting, not even an easy front wheel on the crest at the end of the start-finish, she irons calmly over the bumps in Arrabiata 1 and Correntaio in a full incline. The successful work of the aerodynamicists underscores the fact that the pilot hardly gets anything from the oncoming wind even at top speed.

Always clarified and confident

And the Pirelli slicks fit seamlessly into the picture. The Superleggera is delivered with a specially developed Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP. These were developed for the special requirements of the Superleggera – at the rear with a rubber compound derived from the racing tires, which still works in a higher temperature window. The front has a special design with a view to the additional load caused by the contact pressure generated by the wings. But here and now at the first ride in Mugello, Pirelli slicks of the dimensions 125/70 and 200/65 are mounted, as they are also used in the World Cup. And they deliver grip and feedback without end, when turning on the brake, when the V4 fires man and machine up the Arrabiata 2 in a fat incline and over the following crest. The Superleggera always instills its pilots with the confidence that there is more possible and that the limit is still far away. Despite all the lightness, she always appears serene and confident.


With the race kit, the Superleggera delivers a whopping 234 hp.

So what’s the catch? The Superleggera carries it in the form of its price tag: You have to make 100,000 euros to be able to call a copy your own. And the series is limited to 500 pieces. But with no other production motorcycle you are closer to the dynamics of a real racing superbike – and all of this is street legal. And for those who would like to experience the difference for themselves: All buyers have the opportunity to ride a World Championship Superbike as part of an SBK Experience event. The first Superleggera was delivered today on the day of its presentation.


You can’t get much closer to a motorcycle from the Superbike World Championship. Of course, the price is tough – buyers receive a supersport rocket with the finest components. It’s just a shame that only 500 people will be able to call this great Ducati their own.

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