I didn’t like the Ducati Panigale V4 S when I rode the first-generation version a few years ago. Despite the fact the Panigale has been the best selling superbike in the market for two years running, to the tune of one-in-four superbikes sold worldwide is a Panigale, I just never got on with it. In our head-to-head test of the Panigale V4 S and the Aprilia RSV4 RF, I noted how the Desmosedici Stradale 1103cc 90º V4 is an absolute monster of an engine. Unfortunately, it was wrapped in a chassis completely unable to provide any feedback to the rider. Where the RSV4 could carve a racetrack with scalpel-like precision, the Panigale was more like a butcher knife, chopping up swaths of racetrack with brute power instead of agility and precision. Sure it could set a fast lap, but trying to repeat that performance over the course of a 20-lap race would be next to impossible.
Lost in the buzz Ducati’s Panigale V4 stirred since its introduction was the fact its baby brother, the 959 Panigale, had remained untouched. Squashing any concern that the model was going away (at least for now), Ducati today announced the Panigale V2 – the new name for the 959 Panigale – featuring updates and technology from its V4 sibling. While they were at it, the V4 family received some updates too, which we’ll get to later.