Good-bye Panigale: Say hello to the next generation Ducati superbike, the V4!

Ducati V4 superbike spy shot (Image source: MCN)
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Ducati has been making waves recently after it announced that it will be making a huge announcement coming July 7th at the Laguna Seca round of MotoGP (read what the big news is here).

There is no doubt that the time is up for the Ducati Panigale, and a replacement is right around the corner. UK based motorcycling media and all-round cool guys MCN (Motorcycle News) got their hands on these set of photos showing what could be the replacement to the Panigale.

There have been rumours flying around for awhile now that the next Ducati superbike will be powered by a V4 engine, just as the Ducati MotoGP race bike. It is no secret that the Ducati Superquaddro L-Twin has shown its limitations over the years in terms of power, efficiency and emissions. And Ducati needs to introduce something faster, gnarlier and all out better than the Panigale. A bike that does a better job at bridging the gap between race and road.

The report by MCN quoted Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali as saying, “I confirm Ducati is working on a four-cylinder engine project for a road bike,” a few months ago.

This is also huge news for the Ducati WSB team, who will also get the new V4 but not until 2019. Paulo Ciabati confirmed this, “We will race the Panigale for 2017 and 2018, so obviously we will keep developing the engine to be competitive.”

The next generation Ducati road bike will undoubtedly receive even more motorsport know how than the Panigale. Speaking about the new bike, Domenicali continued to say, “the engine development that we have made in MotoGP is exceptional – we have an engine that is very light, very reliable, and with a lot of very interesting technology. We are seriously thinking about making that available to regular customers because it is really a masterpiece of engineering – of course translated into something that can be sold at a reasonable, but premium, price – so it will not be exotic like the Desmosedici, but a more regular high-end sports bike. We would absolutely race this in WSB.”

So with that said, it is clear that the new V4 engine will be below the 1000cc mark due to WSB engine regulations, but bike makers usually create a special homologation edition. Just like the current Panigale, there could be a 1000cc V4 model carrying an R somewhere in its name. And just like the current Panigale, there will likely be two more models – a standard and probably an S model – which could be powered by a 1200cc V4 engine.

And the bike in these pictures is quite clearly a well developed test mule, and is most definitely the upcoming V4. Featuring styling that can be used both on road and on track, and quite obviously an evolution to the styling of the Panigale, and with news that the final edition Panigale is just a few days away from its global introduction, this is surely the next generation Ducati superbike.

So what is known about this bike? Well firstly it ditches the Panigale’s monocoque ‘frameless’ design for a conventional twin-spar cast frame. It is around half the size of a normal frame. Also the design of the new bike is obviously different but similar, stalkier than the Panigale but different to the Ducati race bikes, the new Ducati sports bike is a lot beefier than ever, and similar to the width of four-cylindered Japanese bikes.

The lights too are completely different and the headlamps together with the sidelights have been repositioned inside the air intake ports, apparently given away by one of the LED headlamps seen in the photo below and above. The photos also show that the rear shock has been repositioned and is now placed behind the rider’s left ankle.

We will bring you the latest on this bike as news hits the internet.

UPDATE:
Sister site to MCN, Australian based AMCN (Australian Motorcycle News) has released the rendering below of the upcoming Ducati V4 Superbike. It is not known how close it is to the real bike, but it looks pretty damn good!

Story and photo credits: MCN

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