Ducati has pulled the covers off it’s most bonkers V4 to date, the ultra exclusive Superleggera V4.
The Superleggera V4 project represents the Bolognese company’s greatest achievement thus far in terms of engineering, performance and design.
After an exclusive preview for its most passionate and loyal customers, Ducati has officially unveiled its new Superleggera V4, the most powerful and technologically advanced motorcycle ever made by the Borgo Panigale manufacturer with the new Superleggera to be produced in a limited edition of just 500 individually numbered bikes.
Superleggera V4 makes its debut as 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. This means the Superleggera is a full 6.7 kg lighter compared to Ducati’s V4s thanks to these components alone. To ensure the highest quality and safety standards, these components are 100% tested using the most sophisticated techniques borrowed from the aerospace industry, such as thermography, ultrasound inspections and tomography.
The chassis dimensions have been modified for optimised track use by increasing the length of the swingarm.
Ducati says this results in better deceleration power, faster leaning down into corners and sharper lines riding out of bends.
As you’d expect, the level of performance achieved is extremely high. Ducati test rider, Alessandro Valia, took the bike (fitted with the racing kit and slick tires) around the Mugello circuit in 1:52:45, less than two seconds from the lap time of the Panigale V4 R SBK, winner of the 2019 Italian Motorspeed Championship (CIV) with Michele Pirro.
As you’d expect, Ducati has ensured much of the new Superleggera’s components are made of carbon fibre, which have been moulded into advanced aerodynamic shapes just like the MotoGP machines. These include the fairing, which ensures a level of aerodynamic efficiency that matches and exceeds that of current MotoGP bikes.
Thanks to the 'biplane' aerofoils inspired by the 2016 Ducati MotoGP, it can produce downforce of 50 kg at 270 kph, 20 kg more than that created by the aerofoils on the Panigale V4 MY20 and V4 R. This downforce improves acceleration, by countering the tendency to wheel-up, and increases braking stability.
The carbon fibre fairings also sport an eye-catching Desmosedici GP19-inspired livery that juxtaposes the red of the GP19 with a naked carbon that emphasises shapes, materials and technical details.
Beneath the carbon skin is, of course, Ducati’s Desmosedici Stradale R engine, which has been tickled to be lighter and more powerful than ever.
The 998cc 90° V4 that powers the Superleggera V4 weighs, in fact, 2.8 kg less than the 1103cc V4. Thanks to a special Akrapovič exhaust, it delivers no less than 224hp in road-legal configuration (EU homologation figures). That figure rises to A mind bending 234hp when fitted with the titanium Akrapovič exhaust for track use, which is included in the Racing Kit supplied with the bike.
The Superleggera V4 also spirts a special engine calibration for the racing exhaust gives
riders access to a “RaceGP” display. Intended exclusively for track use, and designed with valuable input from Andrea Dovizioso, it is a direct offshoot of the instrument panel on the Desmosedici GP20.
Thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre, titanium and magnesium components and others machined from solid aluminium, the Superleggera V4 has a dry weight of just 159 kg (16 kg less than the Panigale V4), resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 1.41 hp/kg: a record-breaking figure for a road-legal sports bike. Mounting the supplied Racing kit and switching the bike to its track configuration boosts power to 234hp, dropping the weight to 152.2 kg and raising the power-to-weight ratio to 1.54 hp/kg.
The electronic controls have also been developed to enhance the racing nature of this motorcycle. Their operational parameters are associated by default with three reprogrammed Riding Modes (named Race A, Race B and Sport). There are also - for the very first time - five additional Riding Modes that can be personalised with the rider's preferred settings. Riders can monitor lap times via the upgraded Lap Timer, which can record finish line and split times coordinates for five favourite circuits. These can be recalled at the start of each track day without having to repeat the set-up procedure. The default system settings feature the finish line/split time details of: Laguna Seca, Mugello, Jerez, Sepang and Losail.
This is topped by a latest-generation electronics package including EVO 2 strategies for the DTC and DQS up/down.
Other standard items include a lighter Öhlins suspension system, with a pressurised fork and lighter machined aluminium fork bottoms, a titanium shock absorber spring and GP-derived valves that improve the damping of road bumps during the initial compression stage.
The braking system is the best in the Brembo production range, with an MCS calliper featuring a remotely adjusted lever gap and Stylema® R callipers, exclusive to the Superleggera V4, to provide greater front-brake stroke consistency in long track runs.
Ducati plans to start of deliveries in June 2020 in Europe and, given the extreme complexity of the production of so many components, the rate is limited to only 5 bikes/day. However, Ducati assures is all 500 bikes will be produced within 2020.
Currently there is no word on pricing or arrival dates for New Zealand - if in fact any Superleggera V4s will be heading our way - but rest assured we will update you as soon as any announcement is made.