By Troy Siahaan
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.
Shane Turpin, our ringer for the Aprilia vs. Ducati test, agreed – and so did the stopwatch. While he pulled the fastest single lap time of the test on the Ducati, he was only a few tenths slower on the Aprilia. More importantly, he was more consistent on the Aprilia, stating he wouldn’t have a problem repeating his lap for the course of a race – no way could he do it on the Ducati. For a company known for building some of the most precise frames and chassis in all of motorcycling, it seemed as though Ducati had lost its way.
Then I was able to throw a leg over Ducati’s World Superbike homologated Panigale V4 R and its revised chassis to accompany the 1000cc version of the Stradale V4. Though my time aboard the R model has been brief, there was a …read more