Ducati has announced the 2023 Panigale V4 R, a street-legal superbike that now surpasses earlier models as Ducati’s closest production model to a competition motorcycle. With technical solutions derived from MotoGP and WorldSBK Championship bikes, Ducati claims a max 240.5 hp for the updated Panigale V4 R. The 2023 V4 R also features several upgrades over the previous year model.
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The maximum horsepower of 240.5 sounds impressive, but it’s a little more complicated than that. A few things have to fall into alignment for that max to be reached. The 2023 Panigale V4 features the 998cc Desmosedici Stradale R engine, seen in previous models.
Ducati claims the Desmosedici Stradale R can reach 16,500 rpm in 6th gear and deliver 207 hp at 13,500 rpm with 82 lb-ft of torque. Add on the racing exhaust, and the Stradale R bumps up to 237 hp, which is 3 hp higher than its predecessor but still 3.5 hp short of the claimed max. To give the Stradale R another boost, Ducati collaborated with Shell to produce a special performance oil that claims a 10% reduction in mechanical friction, bumping the ponies up to 240.5.
The special Shell oil only works because the bike uses a dry clutch. The oil contains racing-type additives that can cause problems with a wet clutch. The clutch on the 2023 Panigale V4 R is new, derived from the version used in the WorldSBK. The diameter and axial length have been reduced by 0.9 in and the weight by 1.8 lb. To help with lubrication, the V4 R features gun-drilled titanium connecting rods, which facilitate oil passage.
Also new to the 2023 model is the lengthened gear ratios. The new ratios are the same as those used by WorldSBK Panigale race bikes and were first seen in production models on the 2022 Panigale V4 S. The ratios are lengthened in 1st (+11.6%), 2nd (+5.6%), and 6th (+1.8%) gears. Ducati says the longer gears offer improved engine management when braking and better acceleration coming out of corners. They also allow the quickshifter to work more effectively.
The V4 R also allows riders to choose from four engine configurations: full, high, medium, and low. Full power mode is exactly what it sounds like: It allows the engine to run its full potential without electronic filters (except for first gear). In medium and high power modes, a Ride by Wire map has calibration for all six gears so riders achieve ideal drive. The low power mode is intended to be used for riding on road and for low-grip surfaces. Low power mode limits the max power to 160 hp and features a more manageable throttle response.
The ride mode is visible on the Track Evo display, first seen on the 2022 Panigale V4. The display features a horizontal tachometer along the top of the dashboard. The gear engaged is in the center of the screen. The display also features lights to indicate when an electronic control is working on a particular parameter, such as the Engine Brake Control and the Dual Quick Shift, making it easier for the rider to figure out what controls are helping and what controls have been working against the rider in any given scenario.
The suspension system, updated in the 2022 Panigale V4 and V4 S, is fully adjustable, with an Öhlins NPX25/30 fork with 4.9 inches of travel (0.2 inches more than the 2022 Panigale V4 R) and an Öhlins TTX36 shock. Other updates include a more aggressive profile of the intake cams to improve breathing at high revs and an aluminum tank capacity increase to 4.5 gallons.
Ducati offers a number of accessories for the Panigale V4, such as the Akrapovič titanium complete exhaust system, lighter magnesium rims, adjustable aluminum footpegs, and more.
The 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R in MotoGP-derived racing livery will retail for $44,995 and is expected to arrive in dealerships in the spring of 2023. Visit Ducati’s website for more information.