Every now and then a motorcycle gets unveiled that stops me in my tracks. And this is one of them. You only have to read the model name to know that the Ducati Panigale V4 SP2 is going to be a serious piece of kit.
Ducati are calling their latest V4 “the ultimate racetrack weapon”, and for good reason by the sounds of it. For starters, it’s based on the 2022 Panigale V4, which, as Fagan can vouch for, has taken the most significant step forward since its inception in 2018; this years bike has enjoyed upgrades to its aerodynamics, ergonomics, engine, chassis and electronics. No stone left unturned and all that.
This one though, the V4 SP2, is something even special-er. It’s the top-of-the-range sportsbike from Ducati and ‘the highest performing Panigale ever’. And it looks absolutely delicious, too.
So if you’re wondering what they have done to try and make one of the best sportsbikes in the world even better, I’ll tell you.
They’ve given it five-spoke carbon fibre wheels, which are 1.4kg lighter than the standard rims on the V4 S. The lighter wheels reduce inertia by 26% at the front and 46% at the rear. That’ll probably make the SP2 one of the lightest feeling, most agile superbikes on the market.
You get Brembo Stylema R calipers, Brembo’s top of the range stoppers, with the MCS adjustable master cylinder and span adjuster. They’ve even milled little holes into the ends of the levers, to stop the wind-drag pushing your levers in when you’re going flat out.
The STM-EVO SBK dry clutch, they are saying, isn’t just for show (and sound). It’s said to guarantee a more effective anti-hopping function when you’re really trying on track, as well as more ‘fluidity’ when you’re off the throttle. The sound of it might turn a few heads as well.
The 520 chain helps to reduce drag and the billet Rizoma footpegs help keep the weight down; as does the smorgasboard of carbon trinkets that come with the ‘track kit’. Everyone who boys a V4 SP2 gets the ‘track kit’ which consists of billet aluminium caps so you can remove the mirrors, a kit for removing the number plate and open, carbon fibre clutch cover. Nice.
On the SP2, you get the GPS module as standard, which means you can use the Automatic Lap Time Function. You can also connect up to the Ducati Data Analyser, spend a bit of time pouring through the data and trying to work out why you’re not as fast you used to be.
You get the same, 1,103cc Desmosedici Stradale engine, with four power modes, and fully adjustable, electronic Öhlins suspension as the latest V4 S. So as standard the bike makes 216hp, but if you fancy splashing out on the Akrapovič exhaust you can have another 12hp, so 228hp in total, as well as 131Nm. The Akra is also 5kg lighter than the standard can, reducing the weight from 173kg to 168kg.
If the embodiment of sex had who wheels it would look like a Ducati Panigale V4 SP2. And as well as it being the sexiest Panigale going, in it’s matt black winter test colours, it’s probably the most impressive on track too.
Obviously there’s a big elephant in the room. Well there’s two actually. The first one being the fact that the V4 SP2 costs £34,295. That’s obviously very strong money. And when the Panigale V4 S is so incredibly good, for over £8k less (£25,995), you’d have to really think hard about whether you want to spend all that extra cash on a black one with some more bling.
But the Ducati Panigale V4 SP2’s price was always going to be a big number, and I don’t think anyone will be truly surprised by it.
What does seem like a little bit of a piss-take is the fact that, to unlock a massive chunk of the bikes potential, you need to spend a load more cash on the Akrapovič exhaust. We don’t have the official numbers yet for the ‘genuine’ Akra pipe, but estimates say it’s likely to be in the £4.5k region. Now all of a sudden, you’ve got a bike that’s worth the fat end of £40k. I’d be frightened to ride it.
Maybe I’m just a bit tight. I don’t know. Still, just look at it. If I was a rich man, I think I’d have two. One for riding, and one for doing other things with.