2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S review | Silverstone GP Circuit

Streetfighter V4 S track riding review

Last week we got the chance to try out the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S at the stunning Silverstone GP circuit - here's what we found out

LAUNCHED at the very beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S was the first Borgo Panigale bike to launch into the modern super naked era. The 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is very much the same as that machine.

Taking the Panigale V4 S as its base, it features more easy-going ergonomics, changes to the gearing and geometry, and revised engine mapping for more torque. I almost felt that the 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S was too fast for the road when I tried the bike in 2022, would a trip to the Silverstone GP circuit for a Ducati UK trackday make me feel more at home on the naked Panigale?

2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S Silverstone Trackday

Morning sessions riding the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

With the track still cool and the air temperature around 15 degrees, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of knee-down action in session one of the trackday. Moreover, this was the first time I’d ridden the GP layout in anger, having only had one previous fleeting meeting with the track when I rode the safety bikes at the 2019 British GP. That was the merest of glimpses of the track, and it all felt very different on Ducati’s Streetfighter. Heading out at the tail end of the pack, I picked my way through the session, figuring out my braking markers and avoiding a couple of damp patches on the entrance to Becketts.

With the Pirelli Rosso Corsa IV hoops still not quite feeling the love for the chilly weather, the main lesson learned was that the traction control is very good. Silverstone’s sweeping apexes had ‘TC’ light on the dash flashing constantly. It’d activation though is almost imperceivable, and it only ever seems to dull the power and torque of the engine just enough to allow the tyres to find some grip.

I was also pleased that the latest gen’ Streetfighter didn’t feel sluggish in the corners compared to the Panigale I’ve ridden on track fairly extensively over the last year or so. The longer wheelbase should make it slower to turn, but the chin over the headstock riding position and wide bars allow you to bully the bike into corners.

After a break for filming and refreshments, we were back out for sessions two and three, and the weather gods were certainly smiling on the Northamptonshire track. The air and track temp had both risen, and now the Streetfighter was starting to feel like the weapon we’ve all heard so much about. I kept the bike in the same riding mode for sessions two and three, and the traction control was now working much less as the Pirelli tyres bit into the re-profiled surface.

The main take-away from these sessions was that small movements of my upper body on the way into corners would make big difference to the bike’s behaviour. The latest generation Ducati Panigale V4 S is a beautiful bike at every section of a turn. The Streetfighter is a bit more of an animal. It features the same suspension as the Panigale, although its wide bars mean that small upper body movements translate to more exaggerated responses from the bike. In all honesty, it’s never really an issue, as the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension is always on hand to sort things out.

Afternoon sessions riding the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

I was now feeling right at home on the GP layout. It’s not a fan favourite, and I can totally see why. As a spectator you are miles from the action, staring at the racing through the extensive catch fencing. To ride though, it’s a joy and probably the only place in the UK where mere mortals can exploit the latest breed of 200+ bhp sports bikes and super nakeds. I’m braking harder into the turns and hitting more apexes than the morning sessions, and if I did have a moment of overexuberance into a corner, the kerbstones were only ever a flick of the wrist away. The wide bars and sit-up-and-beg riding position mean that no corner apex is out of reach if you want it badly enough. The Ducati Streetfighter V4 S thrives when you adopt a point-and-squirt riding style. Brake late, use the bars to find the corner and fire it out, standing the bike up on the fat part of the tyre. It might not be as pretty as the Panigale, but it's effective, nonetheless.

For the final session of the day, I flicked the bike into its dedicated Track riding mode, lowering the traction and wheelie control, upping the power, and reducing the ABS. On the well-used Rosso Corsa tyres, the bike was obviously sliding much more than earlier in the day, although there was still a modicum of intervention to help prevent things from getting totally out of hand. I’ll be honest, I was expecting much more of a jump in dynamics going from Sport to Track, but it wasn’t as pronounced as I’d assumed. The suspension setting is also firmer in Track mode, translating to improved composure under braking, and, conversely, a slightly more nervous feel on corner entry.

Did Silverstone on the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 s changed my mind?

Okay, so my first review of the original Streetfighter V4 was curtailed by the incoming COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The bike was literally whisked away from me as the lockdown was announced. During that time I crammed in as many road miles as I could and came to the conclusion that the Streetfighter is almost too fast for the road. I also got the impression that it felt just like a Panigale, sans fairing and clip-ons. I’m still agreeing with that on one point; the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is a devastatingly quick motorcycle, that needs a very skilled rider to get the most out of it on the road. On the track though, it’s a very different story.

Out on the track it offers owners a very different riding experience to that found on the Panigale. It has a whole different bag of tricks and characteristics up its sleeve and requires a different approach when you ride it. It does also offer a slightly more cost-effective and comfortable route into ‘Panigale’ ownership – up to motorway speeds anyway!

Images: Picman