2019 Ducati Panigale V4R unveiled

Weighing just 193kg ready to ride, makes 234bhp with the race pipe fitted. Titanium rods. Two-ring pistons. Holy mother of god.

2019 Ducati Panigale V4R

WE KNEW the 'R' version of the Panigale V4 would be something incredible. But we're sitting here a bit slack-jawed at what the firm's just released in Milan.

The R is the sub-1,000cc version of the V4, built so that the Bologna firm can go superbike racing. The rules say four-cylinder bikes must be under 1000cc, so the 1,103cc V4S from last year was no good. Instead, we get this total, total weapon of a thing. The Desmosedici Stradale R engine has been stuffed with all manner of MotoGP goodness - titanium con rods and forged pistons, with an 81mm bore and 48.4mm stroke. Ducati says that rather than the torquey flexible powerplant from the 1100 V4, this thing is much more extreme, which has scared a bit of wee out of us already. Along with the sex wee obviously.

Ducati Panigale V4 review | Visordown test

The forged pistons have only two rings - one compression and one oil scraper, the intake valves are titanium, as are the con rods, and the crankshafts is a comedy 1.1kg lighter than the one on the V4S. Each con rod is 100g lighter than the V4S ones, the cams have much more valve lift, the alternator is 100g lighter, and the throttle bodies have 56mm bores - 4mm more than the V4S.

It makes peak power at a frankly astonishing 15,250rpm - yes, 221bhp@15,250rpm, numbers like nothing else outside a MotoGP paddock. Add on the optional Akrapovic race pipe and you get 234bhp@15,500rpm. Hilarious! A massive jump in level-of-tune compared with anything else out there.

Away from the engine, the rest of the bike is quite V4S-like, and that similar weight underlines how good the V4S is. The 2kg weight loss on the R is said to be mostly down to the engine, and its lower-mass internals.

What does stand out though is those carbon fibre winglets on the front. Like the Aprilia RSV4 1100 released earlier this weekend, they're there for more stability and downforce while braking from high speed. 

The other big change is the front forks - an all-new Ohlins NPX25/30 unit. This is pressurised internally, for better control of damping oil, but they don't have the gas cartridges on the outside like the FGR300 forks. Bizarrely, it has asymmetrical damping pistons - a 25mm piston for compression damping control on the left fork, and a 30mm piston for rebound damping on the right hand fork. Witchcraft! And taken straight from the Ohlins WSB development skunk works...

We're waiting to hear more - much MOAR on this bike, and will update you all as we get it.