Despite the fact Ducati has hit it big with the Panigale V4R this year, racking up numerous World Superbike victories with Alvaro Bautista (and, let’s be honest, likely the 2019 WSBK title), it appears as though Ducati isn’t done with the Panigale V4, as these spy photos Motorcycle.com has received would indicate.
From these lo-res photos it looks like the Panigale in question here is the V4S – or some variation of it. The major indicator being the fairing shape and its lack of cutouts or heat extractors, as seen on the top-shelf V4R. This would mean we’re dealing with the 1103cc version of the V4. The setting is clearly a track test, and judging by the large number 1 on the front and side number plates, either Ducati is already getting cocky about the 2019 WSBK title or is honoring its past WSBK triumphs. We’re going to guess it’s the latter.
While it would be easy to dismiss these photos as one of the many Ducatisti simply changing the graphics on their Panigale V4 and hitting the track, something seems… different here. The obvious one being the rider fully decked out in Ducati gear – a strong indication this is an official Ducati test of some sort. Apart from the special livery, other notable tidbits we can see include magnesium wheels, Öhlins suspension (hard to tell whether they’re electronic or not from these photos), and possibly a taller windscreen.
Digging into the MO conspiracy machine, a little math tells us it’s been 25 years since Ducati’s favorite Brit, Carl Fogarty, won his first WSBK title. A quarter century is a notable milestone, and what manufacturer doesn’t like celebrating milestones? Peeking at the photo of the rider on track, and maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though those are Foggy’s distinctive piercing eyes glaring through the clear faceshield. Could this be an anniversary model? If so, expect something special – and rare – to come soon. Of course, we’ll have more information as it becomes available.