The Panigale is Ducati’s supersport offering. It takes on the name of the location where the Ducati factory is at – so the company has a lot riding on the name. However, it felt like the V-twin format had reached the peak of its development, so more cylinders was the way to go. Enter the V4 Panigale, but it doesn’t simply follow in the footsteps of the V4 superbikes before it. Ducati has brought into being a clever firing order that derives the benefits of both a twin and a four-cylinder engine. The result is 208bhp and 124Nm from a 1100cc four cylinder engine, the same as the regular V4. As befits a Ducati, there is a full suite of electronics to aid the rider extract the best lap time. The V4S adds to the V4’s capabilities with semi-active Ohlins suspension, which makes it easier to tune at a track day. It also gets forged aluminium wheels and a lithium ion battery, both weight-saving measures. The information for the rider is displayed via a 5-inch colour TFT screen.
The Panigale has been launched in India and deliveries will begin by July. The first two buyers will get a free seat at the Ducati Riding Experience in Thailand in June. The V4 S Panigale competes with the BMW S1000RR, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, Yamaha YZF-R1M, Suzuki GSX-R1000, and the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. A left-field competitor is the Aprilia RSV4 RC, another Italian with a similar engine layout, and the MV Augusta F4R, while long in the tooth, is as Italian and desirable as they come.