The Ducati Panigale V4 has gotten the Superleggera treatment, and the result is the 2020 Ducati Superleggera V4. It’s a fantastic upgrading of the Panigale V4, so let’s take a look at how Ducati upped the V4 ante to Superleggera status.
1. Ducati claims the 2020 Superleggera V4 is “the world’s only street-legal motorcycle with the entire load-bearing structure of the chassis (frame, subframe, swingarm, and wheels) made from composite material.” Generally, this means carbon fiber. According to Ducati, the carbon fiber array cuts nearly 15 pounds of weight from the chassis. For those who worry about the safety of carbon fiber for chassis pieces on the street, Ducati assures us that “these components are 100% tested using the most sophisticated techniques borrowed from the aerospace industry, such as thermography, ultrasound inspections, and tomography.”
- In addition to changing materials, the geometry of the Panigale V4 is different. The Superleggera V4 will get lots of track time, so Ducati has adjusted the geometry accordingly to compensate for the expected higher operating speeds. So, the Superleggera V4 gets a longer swingarm for increased stability. Ducati says this change results in “unparalleled deceleration power, faster leaning down into corners and sharper lines riding out of corners.”
- According to Ducati, the performance of the Superleggera V4 is in the neighborhood of the Panigale V4 R used by Michele Pirro in the Italian Motorspeed Championship. With the Superleggera V4’s racing kit and slick tires, Ducati tester Alessandro Valia was able to come within two seconds of Pirro’s lap times.
- Ducati upgraded the Öhlins suspension for the Superleggera V4. The aluminum fork bottoms are machined to cut a bit of weight, and the spring for the Öhlins TTX shock is titanium. Valving is MotoGP-inspired.
- Say hello to the era of aerodynamics. Ducati is going all-in on the carbon-fiber wings and fairing of the Superleggera V4. It claims that the aerodynamic efficiencies on this street-going motorcycle “matches and exceeds that of current MotoGP bikes.” At 270 kph (168 mph), the downforce created by the wing is 50 kg (110 pounds). That is 44 pounds more than the force provided by the wings on the 2020 Panigale V4 and V4 R. Ducati says this will improve acceleration, reduce the tendency to wheelie, and make for more stable braking.
- Braking is courtesy of Brembo. Everything is top-shelf Brembo components, featuring Stylema R calipers with a lever-gap that is remotely adjustable—exclusive to the Superleggera V4.
- The 998cc Desmosedici Stradale R motor in the Superleggera V4 is lighter and more powerful than the 1103cc engine in Panigale V4. The Superleggera V4 motor hits the scales six pounds lighter than the Panigale V4 powerplant. Additionally, with help from the EU road-legal Akrapovič exhaust, the V4 cranks out 221 horsepower. Install the racing kit and titanium Akrapovič track exhaust, and that pump up to a peak of 231 horsepower. The Superleggera V4 also gets a dry clutch.
- With the optional Akrapovič track exhaust in the racing kit comes access to a RaceGP display on the dash. Similar to the display on the Desmosedici GP20 to be racing in MotoGP this year, and developed with the help of Andrea Dovizioso, the read-out is intended only for track use.
- The Superleggera V4 gets exclusive electronics settings, and they can be personalized. There are three standard riding modes—Race A, Race B, and Sport. For the advanced rider, there are five customizable and savable riding modes. As expected, it has the most advance Ducati electronics package, which includes essentials such as traction control and up/down quickshifting.
- The Lap Timer has increased usability, with the ability to keep tabs on five circuits, including various split times. To get you in the mood, the system comes with settings for Mugello Circuit, Circuito de Jerez—Ángel Nieto, Losail International Circuit, Sepang International Circuit, and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. We salute you if you take your Superleggera V4 on all five of those tracks.
- Ducati claims a dry weight of 350.5 pounds for the 2020 Superleggera V4. As we know, dry weights are meaningless—the motorcycle isn’t in operational order. More interesting is Ducati’s claim that the Superleggera V4 is 35 pounds lighter than the Panigale V4. That puts the curb weight of the Superleggera V4 right around 395 pounds. Ducati claims the power-to-weight ratio on the Superleggera V4 is the highest of any street-legal motorcycle.
- Buyers of the 2020 Ducati Superleggera V4 will have an opportunity to ride a Desmosedici GP20 at Mugello, with Ducati Corse techs watching over you. For those who prefer a less intense ride, you can enjoy the SBK Experience rather than the MotoGP Experience. The SB Experience puts you on a Panigale V4 R at Mugello. Owners also have exclusive access to a Dainese-made Superleggera V4 leather racing suit with the D-Air system, plus a carbon fiber Arai helmet.
- There will be 500 Superleggera V4s produced. Each motorcycle will be numbered, with the special edition number matching the VIN—even the key gets the number treatment.
- Ducati can only build five Superleggera V4s a day, so you will have to be patient. Deliveries begin in June. No price has been set.