Riders Motorcycles’ Martin Jessopp gave the Ducati Panigale V4 its British Superbike debut at Thruxton over the weekend – albeit during a gap in racing when sponsors’ pillion rides take place (and there must have been a serious love sesh with Race Director, Stuart Higgs as this sort of skulduggery never happens at BSB).
In anticipation of swapping his BMW for a V4R next season, the Yeovilian and pure roads specialist blagged a few laps onboard a stock road bike with slicks fitted and managed to utterly shag the rear tyre at the UK’s fastest – and most abrasive – short circuit.
“I was impressed with that Ducati to be honest. She ain’t short of horsepower, I can tell you. I was chucking gears at it going down that back straight and the speed of it was very impressive. It’s got the grunt of a typical Ducati out of corners but it just keeps revving and revving.
“Compared to my BMW, it just falls into corners. It’s so light, so easy to move around. Through Thruxton’s complexes, it was easy to chuck about compared to the S 1000 RR. Obviously it’s just a road bike with slicks on but initial feelings were impressive.
“I cracked on with it and wanted to push to get a true feeling and I tell you what, if I could have raised the footrests (he munched a set of boots after just a few laps thanks to poor ground clearance) and put some better brakes on it, I would have happily raced that at the weekend.”
So, judging by first impressions, it’s safe to say he’ll be swapping the BMW for a Panigale V4R next season then? “It all depends on when the bikes are ready, engine prices and revisions, etc,” reckons MJ. The V4R has been under development for months now but has yet to be released properly, let alone raced. Either way, it’s going to be pure Desmodromic filth.