240bhp from Ducati’s new 2023 Panigale V4 R
It’s a mad headline. And it needs a bit of qualification. But the 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R superbike makes a claimed 240.5bhp, in race trim, from its Desmosedici Stradale R engine. That’s 240.5bhp@15,500rpm from 998cc capacity, which is frankly insane on a production bike that you can buy for the road for around £39k.
The qualification comes in two parts: first, to get the full power you need to have the official Ducati accessory Akrapovic titanium race exhaust system fitted: that on its own gets you to 237bhp@15,500rpm. The final 3.5bhp (and you’ll look a fool in the intermediate groups at your Donington trackdays without it) comes from a unique Shell oil, developed in partnership with Ducati, which has special additives to reduce friction by 10 per cent and give that extra final dollop of grunt. Out of the crate, in Euro5-compliant road-legal form, the new bike makes 218bhp@15,500rpm – still pretty insane.
How has the already-mighty V4 got to this stage? Well, as any idiot knows, to make more power from an engine, you either need to increase the torque it’s producing, or increase the revs it makes its torque at. Or, ideally, both. Ducati’s tweaked the top end of the desmo motor, making the intake trumpets 5mm shorter, and fitted more aggressive camshafts, with 1mm more lift. The other way to get more power at the rear tyre is to cut the amount lost in friction inside the motor: so the two-ring forged aluminium pistons have been redesigned, with a special DLC coating on the skirts that cuts friction inside the cylinders.
The new pistons are also five grammes lighter: around the weight of a teaspoon of sugar. Can the loss of four sugars inside a motor make a real difference? Well it can at 16,000rpm, where massive forces are created by all those reciprocating masses.
The other big-ticket change is a new set of conrods: not only are they super-trick titanium parts, they have a ‘gun-drilled’ design which has a 1.6mm hole drilled all the way through the middle of the rod, supplying high-pressure lubricating oil to the small end bearing and piston.
That improves durability of the most highly-stressed parts of the engine by improving cooling and lubrication there – and it’s a first on a road bike. The result of all that work is nine bhp more over the old bike with the race pipes fitted – though the Euro5 emissions rules means the new bike has lost a few ponies in road legal trim against the old Euro4 bike.
On the transmission front, there’s a new dry clutch design, derived from the WSBK designs, and the gearing has had detail mods for better track performance as stock with longer first gear and a closer ratio between first and second.
Away from the powertrain, the other changes to the Panigale V4R for 2023 are fairly minor. On the suspension front, the Öhlins pressurised NPX25/30 front fork has 5mm more travel, and the rear Öhlins TTX36 shock is slightly longer, with a softer spring and altered standard swingarm pivot position. The rear ride height is thus 20mm higher, improving agility and increasing feedback from the chassis. Brakes remain Brembo, with Monobloc Stylema M4.30 calipers and dual 330mm discs up front.
The fuel capacity has gone up by one litre to 17 litres, and there are detail mods to the saddle and bodywork. The aerodynamic panels have been tweaked, with thinner wings for the same downforce, and new cooling ducts for the engine and quickshifter sensor.
The rider aids package is immense, as you’d expect, and for 2023 there’s a new DTC EVO 3 software package, only for use on track with slicks or racing wets, and specially calibrated for track tyres. Wet weight is an impressive 193.5kg stock, and the titanium Akrapovic race pipe takes 5kg off that, for a 188.5kg weight. Price is £38,995, more info as always from www.ducati.com
2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R selected tech highlights
o 998 cc Ducati Desmosedici Stradale R engine with maximum power of 218 hp at 15,500 rpm (237 hp at 15,500 rpm with race exhaust, 240.5 hp with race exhaust and Ducati Corse Oil)
o Forged steel crankshaft
o Aluminium pistons with DLC treatment on the skirt with one segment plus oil scraper
o Titanium connecting rods
o Intake valves in titanium
o Oval throttle bodies with 56mm equivalent bore and aerodynamic throttles
o Heads with oversized intake ducts
o Sprint Filter P08 high permeability air filter
o Front frame in lightweight aluminium alloy with optimized stiffness
o Öhlins NPX 25-30 manually adjustable pressurised fork with 125 mm travel
o Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber with manual adjustment with centre distance of 316 mm
o Öhlins steering damper
o Aluminium single-sided swingarm with 4-position adjustable pivot height
o Marchesini forged aluminium wheels
o Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres with 200/60 rear
o Braking system with Brembo Stylema® monobloc calipers
o Revised fairing with new aerodynamic appendages with two elements in carbon fibre
o 17-litre aluminium tank
o Carbon fibre front mudguard
o Carbon fibre rear manifold heat shield
o New bespoke race seat
o 5” full-TFT dashboard with new Track Evo display
o Riding Mode (Race, Sport, Street / Rain)
o Electronic package with 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit, including: ABS Cornering Bosch EVO; Ducati Traction Control EVO 3 (DTC EVO 3); Ducati Slide Control (DSC); Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO); Ducati Power Launch (DPL); Ducati Quick Shift up / down EVO 2 (DQS EVO 2); Engine Brake Control EVO 2 (EBC EVO 2)
o Pit Limiter
o Lap Timer EVO
o Rain Light (with DTC EVO 3 Ducati Performance software)
o Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA +) with GPS module
o Lithium-ion battery