World Superbike to Raise Price Cap on Production Race Bikes

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Now we know why the Panigale V4 R launch was delayed a week

When Ducati revealed the 2023 Panigale V4 R last week, we raised an eyebrow when we saw its $44,995 price tag. As we noted in our First Look article, this exceed the price cap to be eligible for World Superbike racing. According to 2022 regulations, sport production machines were capped to a price of €40k, and the previous Panigale V4 R fit snugly below that price cap. The 2023 model, however, comes in at €43,990 in Ducati’s home market, Italy. We figured another shoe had to drop.

And drop it did, mere days after the Panigale reveal. To the surprise of absolutely noone, the Superbike Commission announced changes to the World Championship regulations, including an increase to the price cap on homologated production models. The announcement, which can be read in full here, includes this paragraph:

“Due to the global economic situation and the recorded inflation, the FIM wished to consider the
cost evolutions of production machines for 2023. A general proposal for a maximum percentage
of increase of the maximum retail price of homologated production models was approved. The
exact amounts and percentages will be published at a later stage.”

As the announcement notes, the exact amount of the increase will be announced later, but we think it’s safe to assume the new price cap will be €44,000, or 10 euros more than the Panigale V4 R’s price.

The timing of the rule change also explains why Ducati pushed the Panigale V4 R’s announcement back by a week. Ducati initially scheduled the launch for Oct. 7, but announced on the 6th that its World Première presentation would be postponed “due to organizational reasons”. The announcement was then made on Oct. 14.

As the announcement states, the Superbike Commission decided on the rule changes during meetings in Portimão, Portugal on Oct. 6-8. Putting two and two together, it seems Ducati’s “organizational reasons” were to provide the Commission time to approve the price cap increase on Superbikes.

Ducati holds a lot of sway in World Superbike, and there was no way Ducati would price the Panigale V4 R for nearly €44,000 unless it was confident the price cap would change accordingly. Ducati currently leads the manufacturer standings and Racing Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista leads the riders standings with a few rounds remaining. Barring a dramatic comeback, Ducati is poised to win its first rider and manufacturers championship since 2011. With success close at hand, Ducati would want to ensure it would continue to be competitive in 2023.

Besides the increase to the price cap, the Superbike Commission also approved changes to rules about podium ceremonies, wildcard allocations, the use of E40 fuel, and the creation of a new Super Concession system that would allow manufacturers to update more parts in the interest of competitive balance.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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11 of 19 comments
  • Starmag Starmag on Oct 22, 2022

    Inflation strikes again.

    • See 3 previous
    • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Oct 26, 2022

      No, you went right from inflation to greed. It's not their fault that you aren't as well off as them.

  • Basher97531 Basher97531 on Oct 23, 2022

    Small wonder the overall class keeps going down the toilet sales-wise.

    Rather than maintaining one of the reasons for sportbikes' former popularity - affordability for performance, instead the effort is being put into increasingly unaffordable specials, a strategy the Japanese makers are reticent about (and for good reason).

    While you can praise Ducati for their investment, they are leading the overall sport away from sustainability.

    • See 4 previous
    • Basher97531 Basher97531 on Nov 03, 2022

      This era of practical allrounder bikes has seen sales in the US of half the mid 00's peak, and only with everyone spending willy-nilly during the pandemic have sales risen significantly. The same goes in my home country Australia - not quite as dramatically, but it's been much weaker than before.

      It's catering to an existing, ageing market rather than a growing one. Few under the age of 30 care about any of the things you listed. Get money into their hands again and get some affordable superpsorts back onto the market and they will sell. Yes that may take some massive changes of political settings (God forbid we encourage wage growth over housing speculation) but that will make a difference. Increasing homogenisation measurably hasn't.