(UPDATE: Ducati has officially confirmed the new superbike will be called the Panigale V4)

Ahead of the San Marino MotoGP round at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Ducati revealed its much-anticipated new Desmosedici Stradale V-4 engine that will power it’s next generation of superbikes. Ducati claims a maximum output of 210 hp at 13,000 rpm and 88.5 lb-ft. at 12,250 rpm.

MO Interview: Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali on The V-4

“It’s with undiluted pride that we unveil this technological gem. It represents the start of a new chapter for our company, underlining our vitality and an unshakeable commitment to investment in new products,” says Claudio Domenicali, Ducati’s chief executive officer. “This engine also highlights the close collaboration between Ducati Corse and the factory bike development team, proving just how instrumental racing can be in developing the technology that is later applied on production bikes. In November, at EICMA, we’ll be showcasing the new Panigale V4, an all-new motorcycle powered by this extraordinary engine.”

The 1103cc (more on that later) 90° V-4 engine has a 14:1 compression ratio and at 143 pounds, weighs about 4.9 pounds more than the Superquadro V-Twin engine powering Ducati’s current bikes. The engine uses four valves per cylinder, each activated with Ducati’s signature desmodromic system. The crankshaft is counter-rotating, turning in the opposite direction from the wheels to offset gyroscopic effect of the rims while using its inherent inertia to help mitigate wheelies.

The crankshaft is counter-rotating with crankpins offset by by 70° and, with a 90° V configuration, offers firing points at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380° for a Twin Pulse firing order.

The crankpins are offset at 70° to incorporate a “twin pulse” big bang firing order, with ignition points coming at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380°. Assuming the cylinder on the front bank closest to the alternator fires first at 0°, the cylinder on the same side but on the rear bank fires next at 90°. This is followed by a slight pause before the two cylinders on the clutch side fire 90° apart. According to Ducati, this firing order offers easy-to-handle power and strong traction out of corners.

The Desmosedici Stradale engine (right) shares the same configuration and dimensions as Ducati’s MotoGP engine (left).

The choice of presentation venue helps highlight the engine’s connection to the V-4 powering Ducati’s Desmosedici MotoGP race bike; indeed, the Stradale shares the race engine’s dimensions and 90° V-4 configuration, including its 42° rearward rotation. According to Ducati, the engine dimensions and geometry allow for a compact powerplant, centralizing the mass and making it easier to incorporate into a motorcycle.

But the Desmosedici Stradale does differ from the MotoGP engine in one surprising way: the 81mm bore is the same as on the MotoGP bike but the 53.5mm stroke gives the Stradale engine an 1103cc displacement, making it a 103cc larger than the MotoGP engine. It also means the Desmosedici Stradale engine exceeds the current 1000cc displacement limit for four-cylinder engines in the World Superbike championship where Ducati’s next superbike is presumably intended to compete. Ducati says it will introduce a Panigale V4 R version of its new bike with a smaller displacement but higher rev limit to be homologated for competition starting in the 2019 season.

The Desmosedici Stradale uses four oval throttle bodies with variable-height intakes to optimize intake across the rev range. The intakes use a fixed horn on the throttle body and a mobile horn that moves along steel guides, modulated by an electric motor controlled by the ECU. Each throttle body has two injectors, a sub-butterfly injector for low-load use and an injector above the buttefly valve for higher engine performance needs.

Ducati redesigned the demsodromic system, reducing its overall size for smaller cylinder heads. The 16 valves are controlled by four camshafts that run on a pair of timing chains. Instead of using springs, the valves are mechanically closed, allowing for steep cam profiles and radical cam timings as the engine revs up to its 14000 rpm limit.  Following a company trend in recent years, Ducati has increased the maintenance intervals, so the valves only need inspection and adjustment every 15,000 miles (general service remain at the same 7,500-mile intervals for the Superquadro engines.)

Like the MotoGP engines, the Desmosedici Stradale uses a semi-dry sump lubrication system. The circulation system uses four pumps: one delivery lobe pump and three recovery pumps. One recovery pump is dedicated to drawing oil from the head via two ducts while the other two are to ensure efficient oil recovery in all conditions, maintaining a low pressure state and reducing power loss from aerodynamic resistance from air and the splashing of oil in the connecting rod casing. The oil tank with integrated filter housing is in the magnesium sump below the crankcase. A dedicated radiator mounted below the water radiator cools the lubrication.

Attached to the engine is a six-speed transmission, ready for a quick shifter. The wet clutch is hydraulically controlled, with 11 driving plates and a progressive self-servo mechanism for a lighter clutch feel. This also reduces pressure on the clutch plates for a “slipper” action.

With the Desmosedici Stradale engine introduced, we now have to wait for Ducati to introduce its new superbike. We’ve already seen spy photos and video of the motorcycle being tested, and we now know a few more details. The engine is designed to act as a structural element of the chassis with mounting points in the upper crankcase in the front and in the rear cylinder bank head. The crankcase also has a mounting point for the swingarm and rear suspension system.

The video below gives us a taste of how the new superbike sounds while rounding a lap of Mugello. Pay close attention to the display overlaid on the bottom left corner – it may turn out to be what the instrument cluster on the Panigale V4’s presumably TFT display will look like.

We’ll have to wait until closer to EICMA in November for more information about the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4.

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  • Shlomi

    Why they don’t keep it at 1000cc?

    • Mahatma

      Probably to stoke up torque

      • Michael

        Just like Aprilia did… Increased the capacity of their V4 to 1100 for the extra torque. Seems to be working for them seeing the Tuono and RSV keep winning comparison tests

    • denchung

      For street use, an arbitrary displacement cap doesn’t make sense. For the track, Ducati will make a smaller version, likely with a similar stroke as it’s MotoGP engine as an R model, much like they have with the current Panigale R.

      • DickRuble

        Your answer doesn’t make any sense. Let me rephrase the question for you. What was the point of engineering an 1100, to then have to make a 1000, when they could have made a 1000 and be done? How does the incremental amount of torque and hp justify the cost of engineering/building two models?

        • denchung

          Except that’s what they’ve been doing for years now. The 1299 Panigale isn’t WSBK-legal either, hence the Panigale R still being below the 1200cc limit for twins. If all they’re doing is reducing the stroke, there’s not much added cost in the engine. Add in some slightly upgraded suspension and other upgrades and Ducati can raise the price and you’ll easily make up the difference. Looking at the last generation, the 1299 is priced at $19,995 while the Panigale R is $34,999.

          Plus, they can then claim larger horsepower and torque figures.

          • Shlomi

            Before, they had an excuse that twin needs bump in displacement to compete with in line 4s. They even convinced WSK to bend the rules. Not sure why they continue to do this with the V4 model. I just don’t get their thinking.

          • denchung

            Ducati already confirmed they’ll release a Panigale V4 R displacing <1000cc for 2019. No rule changes needed.

  • Mahatma

    Love it,but sounds expensive.Hopefully they will release a naked bike revealing that beautiful engine.

  • Craig Hoffman

    The general similarities to the MotoGP engine are easy to see.

    Kind of wondering how far this trend can go and if the time for smaller engines and forced induction is upon us. It has been going that way with 4 wheelers for some time.

    • Mahatma

      Enjoy the freedom while it’s there

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You mean the new Suzuki Hayabusa? It certainly would be cheaper than developing a new V4 engine.

      • Craig Hoffman

        A turbo “Busa (and the H2 of course) are large displacement forced induction engines. I guess that is OK too – haha….

    • mikstr

      4-wheelers are restricted to below 1000cc, hence their move to turbos…..

  • Starmag

    “The crankshaft is counter-rotating with crankpins set at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380° for a Twin Pulse firing order.”

    How is that possible with only two crankpins as shown in the picture?

    • denchung

      My bad. I dropped a few words off in error when adding the caption. The pins are offset by 70 degrees.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    Can we get this in a monster version? A.K.A. Aprilia Tuono Shootout?

  • denchung

    Ducati has now officially confirmed the name of its next superbike: Panigale V4.

    • DickRuble

      Horrible name. Sounds like a deli specialty..

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Not. You must be getting hungry.


    The possibilities are endless. The future looks bright.

  • Larry Kahn
    • MikeD

      LOL and somewhat true.

    • SRMark

      Now that was one ugly bike.

      • Larry Kahn

        Yeah, but what would it be worth today…
        “The second prototype, a black and silver sports version with four Dell’Orto SS 1 carburettors, survived, and was on display at Ducati’s factory museum in Bologna, courtesy of its owner, Hiroaki Iwashita, from 2002 to 2003, but now resides in his museum in Yufuin on the island of Kyushu.[8] Its sole public appearance in recent decades was at the 2002 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The fate of the first gold painted prototype is unknown.[6]” Wikipedia.

  • mikstr

    same crank phasing as the “old” D16RR…..

  • Tony Griffiths

    It may be a state-of-the-art production – but what
    a prosaic-looking lump. It would not look out of place in a garden tractor. However,
    as it’s likely to be sheathed in plastic I don’t suppose it matters. Now, this
    is one handsome Italian engine: http://www.visordown.com/sites/default/files/article-images/1/15579.jpeg

    • SRMark


  • vincent

    Will Ducati put that new V4 inside a new Streetfighter in the upcoming years ? (naked bike)

    • Michael

      We sure hope so

  • kenneth_moore

    Has any other manufacturer used a desmodronic valve actuating system, or is it exclusive to Ducati? F1 uses pneumatic valves, but I’ve never heard of mechanical actuators from anyone else.