With a new V4 powered superbike set to be launched in 2018, Ducati has announced a top spec 1299 Panigale R ‘Final Edition’ to close the chapter on the Italian company’s current sportsbike flagship.
Unveiled at this weekend’s world superbike round at Laguna Seca in California, the Final Edition features a 209bhp version of the 1285cc ‘Superquadro’ from the limited edition 1299 Superleggera housed in the Panigale R chassis.
No price has been given yet for the Final Edition, but with the ‘standard’ Panigale R giving little change from £29,000 it certainly won’t be cheap.
Not that there will be any shortage of technology. The new bike features the same Öhlins mechanical suspension as the Panigale R and comes with a near MotoGP level of electronics and a hatful of acronyms. The Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) allows for a pleathora of riding aids, including cornering ABS, Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO), Ducati Traction Control EVO (DTC EVO) and Engine Brake Control (EBC). All these systems are pre-programmed for selected riding modes (Race, Sport and Wet) or can be adjusted individually to the individual rider’s preferences.
In addition to the tech, the Final Edition comes in a dedicated Italian themed colour scheme. The red, white and green colour scheme is set off with red wheels and, to celebrate the launch of the model, Ducati’s world superbike riders, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri, competed with a similar paint scheme at Laguna Seca.
Ducati’s flagship sports bikes have historically been powered by 90-degree V-twin (or L-twin, as Ducati describes them) engines. The current short-stroke V-twins can trace their lineage back to 1988’s 851, through to the iconic 916 of the mid-1990s, to the 999 and present day Panigale range. With these bikes, Ducati has become by far and away the most successful manufacturer in the Superbike World Championship, but the Final Edition represents a change of direction for the Italian brand. The company has competed with a V4 powerplant since entering MotoGP in 2003 and has announced that the next generation of production road bikes will also use this configuration.