Ducati has announced the first production version of the ultra-exclusive Superleggera V4 has been built, the first of a limited run with just 500 being made available to buy.
The Superleggera V4 is the successor to the V-twin 1199 and 1299 Superleggeras, both of which also had 500 unit production runs when they came in 2014 and 2016 respectively. The V4 is the ultimate Ducati superbike and combines ferocious power figures of up to 234bhp with the racing exhaust fitted and has a full composite chassis, wheels subframe and swingarm; all of which contributed to a significant weight-saving over the standard Panigale V4 model.
One of the most noticeable elements of the design are the huge ‘biplane’ style aerodynamic wings fitted either side of the fairing. Ducati explains these wings create 50kg of downforce at 167mph (270kph) which is 30kg more than the Panigale V4 and V4R models. Ducati claims this downforce assists with reducing wheelies under power and also with increasing braking stability.
The aerodynamic design of these biplane wings comes directly from the Italian company’s experience of working on the 2016 MotoGP Desmosedici racing prototype racing bikes. Additional weight-saving comes from the widespread use of carbon fibre. The entire fairing is shaped from carbon fibre.
Tucked away under the carbon fibre fairing is the most powerful road homologated engine Ducati has ever produced, with the 998cc V4 motor capable of producing 224bhp in road-legal trim or 234bhp with a titanium Akrapovic racing exhaust fitted.
The weight-saving has added up to a dry weight of just 159kg which is 16kg less than that of the Panigale V4R model. Along with all of the carbon fibre and composite structures, the use of magnesium and aluminium billet parts has been substantial.
Even the Ohlins suspension parts have been developed to be lighter that the Swedish company’s usual offerings, with a titanium spring in the rear suspension unit.
Ducati has gone back to the fitment of a dry clutch as part of the racing kit; the bike will make a familiar metallic jingling noise known to anyone who has heard an older Ducati 916/996 or 998 model fitted with a dry clutch.
The Superleggera even gets a ‘RaceGP’ digital dashboard which, designed for track work, has been derived from that used on the Desmosedici MotoGP GP20 bike raced by Andrea Dovisioso and Danilo Petrucci.
HOW DOES DUCATI MAKE THE SUPERLEGERRA EVEN MORE SPECIAL?
It’s not only the small number of just 500 bikes being built that will keep the Superleggera special for the lucky few because there are some unique touches to each bike, making it stand out from mass produced models.
Not only does each bike get a small metal plaque with the signature of the engine builder mounted on the carbon cover of the rear engine cylinder bank but there are more special touches too.
The electronic rider aids have been specifically designed for track work with three riding modes of Race A, Race B and Sport and for the first time, riding modes can be added and customised to the rider’s wishes.
The bike can even store datalogging preferences, which can log your set-up for certain tracks. Already loaded into the bike’s computer are laps of Laguna Seca, Mugello, Jerez, Sepang and Losail tracks, though British riders looking to lay down some laps at Donington or Silverstone will still be able to take advantage of the sophisticated system.
Owners can even personalise their own Ducati SuMisura leathers and even buy a carbon fibre crash helmet to go with the bike, with matching graphics and colours of course.
Even the crate the bike is delivered in has been specifically tailored for the Superleggera and owners also get a 1:10th scale model of the bike too.
Smaller details haven’t been overlooked; the radiator cap is a unique aluminium version and even the ignition key gets a metal insert with the build number of the bike showing which bike out of 500 it is.
There’s one small catch if you want to enjoy all of the various unique elements of the new Ducati Superleggera V4. Well, just under 90,000 catches actually as that’s how many UK Pounds you’re going to have to part with to own one!
For all that, Superleggeras don’t usually have problems finding buyers – so don’t expect to head over to your local Ducati dealer and beat down a discount.
You can watch a video of the first production line bike here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hSl9Vk4mmA