Ducati signalled its intention to end Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki’s domination of the Superbike World Championship by unveiling its stunning V4 R, a thinly disguised race bike that pumps out 221bhp in road trim, and a staggering 234bhp when fitted with a race kit.
The Italian company has been running its old 1198cc V-Twin Panigale R in competition, as the existing V4 is ineligible to compete as the 1103cc V4 engine is too big. Ducati admits that the V4 R is ‘to all intents and purposes, a road-legal WSBK category competition bike’ suggesting that the highly tuned motor will be more of a handful than the bigger ‘Stradale’ version. The V4 R, which will be raced by Chaz Davies in world superbikes, as well as Josh Brookes and Scott Redding in the British championships, make peak power at 15,250rpm and have lighter engine internals than the 1103cc models. That contributes to a kerb weight that’s 2kg less, at 193kg, while the aerodynamics have been given a makeover too, with MotoGP style winglets on the fairing to increase stability and reduce the reliance on wheelie control in race conditions.
It goes without saying that the electronics, suspension and chassis are out of the absolute top drawer. No prices are available yet, but we’re assuming that they won’t be at the budget end of the sportsbike market.
The V4 R is one of nine new models in Ducati’s 2019 range and was unveiled in a press conference ahead of this week’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. The Italian company also revealed a second generation version of its Diavel power cruiser.
Powered by the 159bhp Testastretta DVT 1262 motor, the Diavel 1260 has a revised chassis that features a new trellis frame that promises improved handling. Two versions are available, with the higher spec S model featuring fully adjustable Öhlins suspension at both front and rear, as well as Ducati’s trick quickshifter system for clutchless up and down changes.
Also updated is the Hypermotard, which now features the 114bhp, 937cc, version of the classic Bologna V-twin motor – increasing power by 4bhp over the old Hypermotard 939. The 950 loses 4kg over the old model (taking dry weight down to 174kg) and gains a new electronic package that includes Bosch corning ABS, traction control, wheelie control and quickshifter. An SP version will also be available, featuring a flatter seat, longer travel Öhlins suspension, Marchesini forged wheels and a more sophisticated quickshifter allowing clutchless shifts both up and down the gearbox.
Another bike getting the attention of the Borgo Panigale R&D department is the Multistrada 950 S. The smallest of Ducati’s adventure bikes gets electronic ‘Skyhook’ suspension, the up and down quickshifter featured on the bigger models, full-LED headlight, a new TFT display, cruise control and revised switchgear. The Multistrada 950 S also gains the fairing from the bigger 1260 model.
These models join the Multistrada 1260 Enduro and four new Scrambler models unveiled in October. Ducati also announced a MotoGP inspired livery for the Panigale V4 S Corse and an upgraded version of the entry level Monster 821. Called the ‘Stealth’ new variant features a matt black livery, red graphics, adjustable forks, quickshifter and a nose fairing.
Ducati also used the press conference to unveil an electric mountain bike, developed in conjunction with Thok, called the MIG-RR.