Just when we thought the Panigale V4 couldn’t get any better, Ducati drop this bombshell; ‘the most significant evolutionary step’ since the V4 was first released in 2018. They’re telling us it’s better on track, less tiring to ride, and generally better in every way. Aerodynamics, ergonomics, engine, chassis and electronics have all been worked on and hopefully, improved, making, Ducati say, the 2022 Panigale V4 faster, more intuitive and easy to ride for professional and amateur riders alike.
In fact Michele Pirro (Ducati’s Official Test Rider) was half a second faster on the new V4. That might not sound a lot, but half a second is a lot to a professional (MotoGP spec) rider like Michele Pirro.
“How have they made such a good bike so much better?” I hear you ask. Well firstly, there’s a new set of wings. They create the same vertical load of up to 37kg at 300km/h (186mph), but the design is thinner and more compact.
And staying in the airflow department, there are some new cooling vents at the bottom of the fairing to help keep the engine cool. This is something that anyone who’s ever ridden a Panigale V4 knows is definitely necessary. You get a lot of heat off the back cylinders on the V4, which can be quite uncomfortable on your legs after a while; so any help to keep things cool is very welcome.
To improve control, particularly on track, Ducati have put a fair bit of work into developing the V4’s ergonomics. The seat is a different shape and has a grippier coating, and the back of the tank has been sculpted in a way that makes it easier to grip with your legs, when you’re braking or cornering.
There’s been a fair bit of work in the engine room, too. It’s still a 1,103cc Desmosedici Stradale motor, but now it’s got more power and better throttle response. The changes include a new, more efficient oil pump, bigger diameter exhaust end cans, and a new fuel map. That means you now get 218hp (at 14,500rpm), 2.5hp more than the 2021 model. You also get 124Nm of torque (at 9,500rpm), but that’s the same as last year’s.
The gearbox is new as well, with some significantly different ratios; namely first, second and sixth gear, which are all longer. They’ve made the gearbox more similar to that of the WSBK machine, so it ought to be more suitable for the track. How it’ll work on the road though, I don’t know. First gear has been lengthened by 11.6%, which seems like a lot. Is the new Panigale V4 going to be one of those bikes that you never get out of first gear on the road? Time will tell.
A new ‘Power Modes’ logic has been adopted for the ’22 model, with four engine configurations: Full, High, Medium and Low. ‘Full’ is the sportiest ever on a Panigale V4 and gives you all the power and all the torque without any electronic castration (except in first gear). I’m all for minimal electronic interference, but that might be a bit scary, with 218hp. At the other end of the spectrum, the ‘Low’ power mode cuts the max power to 150hp and gives you a much more manageable throttle response. Just in case your granny asks to take it for a ride.
The V4 and V4 S both come with a new dashboard with an ‘Track Evo’ display mode. On the Track Evo screen, you get a horizontal rev counter at the top of the dash, all the electronic aid indicators down the right-hand-side and a big gear indicator in the middle of the screen. There’s also now a green LED shift-light on the left of the dash.
Shockings and Suspenders
Whilst the standard Ducati Panigale V4 comes with fully (but manually) adjustable Showa Big Piston Forks and Sachs shock, the V4 S comes with electronic Öhlins stuff. And it’s new. Well the forks are, anyway. It’s Öhlins NPX 25/30 pressurised fork, based (probably quite loosely) on the full-on Öhlins racing fork. The pressurised cartridge minimises the risk of oil cavitation, so you get better braking support without the loss of bump absorption. Or that’s the theory, anyway. The new fork has an extra 5mm of travel (125mm) and slightly softer springs (they’ve gone from 10N/mm to 9.5N/mm).
At the back, you’ve got the same old Öhlins TTX36 shocker with the ‘event based’ control system. That means you can electronically tweak things in relation to braking, cornering, accelerating etc.
They’ll cost £20,995 for the V4 and £25,995 for the V4 S. And you shouldn’t have long to wait if you fancy one, as Ducati are saying the 2022 Panigale V4 and V4 S will be available from December. Just in time for Christmas. Go on, treat yourself.