Ducati Boosts Panigale V4 R To Beyond 240hp

Ducati just took the wraps off its updated-for-2023 Panigale V4 R superbike, and with the aid of some accessories, it can now push past 240 hp, the company says.

What are the changes that allow this? It’s the result of Ducati’s race tech trickling down again, or as the press release says: “The most sophisticated and refined technological solutions by delivering a street-legal superbike that’s even closer to the Panigale race bike used in the WorldSBK Championship.”

And there’s some MotoGP trickle-down too. Ducati put more aggressive cams into the 998cc V4, with intake updated to match. The pistons are lighter, with DLC treatment, and the gear ratios are lifted from Ducati’s racebikes. And then there’s this:

For the first time on a road bike, “gun drilled” titanium connecting rods are used, which are drilled longitudinally along the rod (.06 in diameter hole). This solution allows an oil passage from the head to the small end, improving lubrication and reliability in extreme conditions.

Photo: Ducati

Trick stuff, indeed! Still, in stock form, horsepower is limited to 207 hp at 13,500 rpm for North American bikes, it seems (Euro bikes make 218 hp at 15,500 rpm). But if you add on Ducati’s track-only exhaust, max output jumps to 237 hp. Then, if you use the special-purpose engine oil that Ducati Corse has developed in conjunction with Shell, you can pick up another 3.5 hp, Ducati says, boosting total output to 240.5 hp.

With much power comes great need to harness it, and to that end, Ducati has done a bunch of tinkering with the electronics systems as well. Read on for a blow-by-blow:

The V4 R’s on-track effectiveness is strengthened by the electronic evolutions introduced on the 2022 and 2023 Panigale V4, which include Power Mode expansion, a new “Track Evo” dashboard display, engine maps with calibration dedicated to each single gear, refinements to the Ducati Traction Control and the Ride By Wire system, and the adoption of the Engine Brake Control EVO 2 strategy, the new DQS strategy and a cooling fan control update.

To make the Panigale V4 R even faster and more usable in racing, the Power Mode has been updated with calibrations dedicated to the Desmosedici Stradale R engine. The Power Modes feature four engine configurations that were all revised for the Panigale V4 R: Full, High, Medium and Low.

Full Power Mode allows the engine to express its full potential with torque curves void of electronic filters—except for the first gear. For the Medium and High Power Modes, a new Ride by Wire map has dedicated calibration for all six gears, ensuring the rider achieves optimum drive every time the throttle is opened. On the other hand, the Low Power Mode has been designed for riding on the road or for low-grip surfaces, limiting the bike’s maximum power to 160 hp and offering a more manageable throttle response.

All very sensible-sounding.

Photo: Ducati

The chassis seems several changes; the Ohlins suspension gets more travel up front and a stiffer shock in rear, both of which are supposed to make handling more precise. Ducati also included new bi-plane aerodynamic winglets for added downforce, and along with the accessory exhaust, buyers can also buy lots of carbon-fiber bodywork and other parts, to keep the weight down. The fairing that comes on the bike is designed to improve cooling; Ducati even configured it to direct air to cool the quickshift system (which has been updated for improved smoothness when shifting at any rpm).

Ducati even put an individual number plate on each of these machines, although it’s not clear whether it’s a limited series or not. Frankly, with an MSRP of $52,995 in Canada, there will be a limited number of buyers anyway.

All told, a lot of updates for ’23, with many more listed at Ducati’s website. The bike should be here in dealerships by next spring.

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