New 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R First Look

After a one week delay due to “organizational reasons,” Ducati released the fourth part of its 2023 World Première series, “This is Racing”. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the subject of the episode is the new 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R. We knew the V4 R would represent the pinnacle of Ducati’s racing development, so we eagerly awaited the official details.

And the information is as eye-popping as we expected. It starts with an MSRP of $44,995, a big jump from the $40k price of the previous Panigale V4 R, and what we thought was a 40,000 Euro price cap on World Superbike-eligible motorcycles.

The larger numbers go beyond the price. The new 998cc Desmosedici Stradale R engine with a maximum rev limit of 16,500 rpm in sixth gear (and “just” 16,000 rpm in the lower gears).

Ducati claims the Stradale R engine produces a peak output of 240.5 hp at 15,500 rpm, though there are a few asterisks beside that number. For one, that output requires a racing exhaust. The street-legal exhaust restricts the output to 218 hp at 15,500 rpm for Euro 5-compiant markets, and 207 hp at 13,500 rpm for North America. Peak torque is a claimed 82 lb-ft. at 12,000 rpm (with Euro 5 models ahead by a few decimal points). The full racing exhaust pushes the figures to 237 hp at 15,500 rpm and 87 lb-ft. at 12,250 rpm.

That’s still 3.5 hp short of the claimed 240.5 hp, hence the second asterisk. To unlock the full power, the Panigale V4 R requires a special oil developed by Shell and Ducati Corse. The oil contains additives specific to high-rpm engines with dry clutches like the V4 R’s. According to Ducati, the special performance oil guarantees a 10% reduction in mechanical friction, resulting in an increase of 3.5 hp (and an added 4.5 hp at the rev limit).

To help the oil do its job, the Desmosedici Stradale R’s titanium connecting rods received a new “gun drilled” treatment. The conrods have a small diameter hole drilled longitudinally along the length of the rod, creating an oil passage to improve lubrication in extreme conditions. The pistons have a new geometry to reduce their weight by 2%, and for further friction reduction, they received a Diamond Like Carbon surface treatment.

Other engine updates include more aggressive intake cam profiles increasing lift by 0.03 inches and shorter variable length horns. Like the other changes, Ducati says this update was made to improve performance at high revs.

The aforementioned dry clutch is also new, with a reduced diameter, axial length and weight derived from Ducati’s official World Superbike program. Ducati also lengthened the first, second, and sixth gear ratios compared to the previous V4 R, changes that were first introduced on the 2022 Panigale V4 S. According to Ducati, the updated gear ratios improve engine management when braking and acceleration out of corners. A shorter difference between first and second gears also allows the quick shift to work more effectively.

The V4 R also received the updated electronics from the 2022 and 2023 Panigale V4, with a new Track EVO dashboard display,  engine braking, quickshifter, and refined traction control settings. The Ducati Performance DTC EVO 3 traction control also gets a new rain mode that replaces the previous Street Riding mode. Designed for wet surfaces and slick or rain tires, the mode also flashes the rear position lights as required by racing rules for rainy conditions.

 

The V4 R offers four power modes: Full, High, Medium and Low. In Full mode, the engine makes use of its full torque curve without any electronic filters except when its in first gear. The High and Medium modes have new ride-by-wire maps with different calibrations for all six gears. Low power mode is designed for street use or for low-grip surfaces, limiting power to 160 hp and providing more manageable throttle response. Ducati also updated the cooling fan control to better manage the engine heat.

The aluminum alloy “front frame” chassis remains unchanged, as does the single-sided aluminum swingarm, despite speculation that Ducati might change it for a double-sided swingarm. The swingarm pivot height remains adjustable through four height positions.

The fully adjustable suspension system follows the changes introduced in the 2022 Panigale V4 and V4 S, with an Öhlins NPX25/30 fork now offering 4.9 inches of travel (0.2 inches more than the previous V4 R) and an Öhlins TTX36 shock repositioned to increase the rear height by 0.8 inches for a higher center of gravity.

Ducati increased the aluminum fuel tank’s capacity to 4.5 gallons and gave it a new profile to improve support for a rider’s arms and legs during braking and cornering. A flatter seat with a new cover and thinner foam allows for easier side-to-side rider movement.

The fairing was updated to improve engine cooling while the aerodynamic package was revised with wings that are thinner and more compact than the previous package while providing the same aerodynamic load.

Ducati offers a number of accessories for the Panigale V4 R, including the Akrapovič full exhaust system required to maximize the horsepower output. An optional set of magnesium rims offer a claimed 1.5 pound weight reduction compared to the stock Marchesini forged aluminum wheels. Ducati also offers optional Rizoma footpegs, additional carbon fiber components and a Pit Stop accessory package which includes tire warmers and garage stands.

The 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R comes in a MotoGP-derived racing livery with #1 white number plates on the front and side fairings. It will be produced in a numbered series, with the individual number shown on the billet aluminum top triple clamp.

The Ducati World Première 2023 series continues Oct. 20 with an episode titled “Push Forward”. A brief teaser at the end of the Panigale V4 R’s episode suggests it will be for an updated Streetfighter V4.


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