The 2020 version of the Panigale V4 boosts performance even further and takes track riding to the next level for amateurs and pros alike.
A series of refinements make for an easier, more user-friendly, less fatiguing ride while simultaneously making the bike faster not just on individual laps but over entire timed sessions. The Aero Pack provides enhanced airflow protection and improves overall vehicle stability, enhancing confidence. The Front Frame, instead, modifies stiffness to give better front-end ‘feel’ at extreme lean angles.
Ducati and Ducati Corse engineers have crunched the feedback/data numbers from customers all over the world and Superbike World Championship events. Their analysis has led to a series of aerodynamic, chassis, electronic control and Ride by Wire mapping changes: designed to increase stability and turn-in speed, these changes make it easier to close corners and ensure riders enjoy more confident throttle control.
2020 product improvements make the new Panigale V4 faster on the track than its 2019 predecessor. Riders of all skill levels will see the difference. During development on a test ride at the Vallelunga circuit, both an amateur rider and professional rider Michele Pirro benefited from the 2020 improvements with the amateur rider going 1.3 seconds faster and Michele Pirro shaving 0.4 seconds off his time.
Aero Fairing by Ducati Corse
Co-developed by Ducati Corse and the Ducati Style Center, the Panigale V4 MY2020 aerodynamics package now mirrors that of the Panigale V4 R. The result; fairings that – in true Panigale style – meet official Ducati Superbike requirements in full.
As in MotoGP, aerodynamic development involved a series of preliminary CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) studies, followed by optimisation on a full-scale wind tunnel model.
The Panigale V4 aerodynamics package includes:
- Plexiglas screen, nose fairing and larger lateral fairings
- More efficient lateral vents for radiator through-air
The new Plexiglas screen – higher and more angled – provides better airflow protection for riders, especially in the helmet and upper shoulder areas. The screen works in concert with a new nose fairing that is higher and wider (+15 mm per side) in the arm-shield zone to reduce arm and shoulder-induced drag on the straights.
The lateral fairings have been widened considerably (+38 mm per side) with the dual aim of reducing on-rider airflow impact and maximising aerofoil efficiency.
On the sides, the stylish air vents of the Panigale V4 have been replaced by more efficient ones that increase air through-speeds on water and oil radiators by 6% and 16% respectively.
the aerofoils take their cue from those on the GP16, designed before regulations led to restrictions on foil shapes. Consequently, Panigale V4 aerofoils are even more efficient that those currently employed in MotoGP.
These monoplane single-element foils have a trapezoidal layout and a profile that tapers from root to tip. Foil performance has been improved thanks to the insertion of the longitudinally arranged strake and the winglet which ‘insulates’ the airflow over its surfaces. To ensure the required strength and stiffness, Panigale V4 aerofoils are made of fibreglass-reinforced thermoplastic.
Working in concert with the fairing design, the aerofoils increase overall downforce (+30 kg at 270 kph). Greater downforce reduces both front wheel ‘floating’ at high speed and the tendency to wheel-up while giving a boost to stability during braking at the turn-in point and through the corner.
This dynamic behaviour lets riders – against a small increase in steering torque that stems from the heightened stability – lower lap times as it reduces electronic control intervention, helping riders keep the throttle open longer and brake later, even when cornering has already begun.
New changes for top performances
The Panigale V4 MY2020 features new, specially developed Ride by Wire system mappings with several torque delivery control settings. Track-dedicated RbW mapping aligns rider demand with delivered torque more closely, resulting in smoother, more predictable throttle response.
The Panigale V4 is powered by the 1,103 cm3 Desmosedici Stradale (banked 42° back from the horizontal), a MotoGP-derived 90° V4 with Desmodromic timing, a one-of-a-kind engine featuring a counter-rotating crankshaft and Twin Pulse firing order. The engine can deliver 214 hp at 13,000 rpm and a torque of 12.6 kgm at 10,000 rpm, making for awesome road riding.
The bore of (81 mm) is the same as that used by the Desmosedici GP engine and is the maximum dimension allowed by MotoGP regulations. It is also the highest in the four-cylinder supersport segment.
The stroke (53.5 mm) is longer compared to the Desmosedici GP engine in order to deliver higher torque on open road use, and to reduce maximum engine rotation speed.
The use of the same bore as the Desmosedici GP engine means that all the fluid dynamics (valves, intake pipes, throttle bodies), which in fact make up the heart of the engine where the performance is generated are also very similar in the two drive units.
The V4 90° layout makes the engine extremely compact, allowing the centring of the masses and better integration into the bike. In fact, the Desmosedici Stradale has been inserted into the vehicle with the front bank of the cylinders rotated back by 42° with respect to the horizontal plane, as on the Ducati engines competing in MotoGP. This optimises the distribution of weight, allows for the use of more extensive radiators and makes it possible to shift the swinging arm pivot forwards.
Its architecture also generates a natural balancing of first-order forces, without the gain in weight and loss of power of a balance shaft.
Like all Ducati engines, on the Desmosedici Stradale the design of the Desmodromic system is a key factor for obtaining top performance. The Desmodromic system in the Desmosedici Stradale uses components that have been completely redesigned and miniaturised to obtain very compact heads, achieving a level of sophistication, compactness and lightness never seen before on a Ducati bike.
On normal motorcycles the crankshaft rotates in the same direction as the wheels. In contrast, in MotoGP the counter-rotating crankshaft rotates in the opposite direction. The Ducati engine specialists have borrowed this technical solution from the racing models for the same reasons it was applied in the competitive world. In fact, this solution has advantages related to two aspects of physics: the gyroscopic effect and inertia.
The 70° offset of the crank pins combined with the 90° V-engine layout generates a firing order that Ducati has called “Twin Pulse” because it is as if the engine were reproducing the firing sequence of a twin cylinder. The peculiarity lies in the rapid firing of the two cylinders on the left side and then on the right side of the motorcycle. In the timing diagram, the firings are situated at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380°. This particular firing order gives the V4 a sound that is quite similar to that of the Desmosedici MotoGP.
Each throttle body has two injectors: a sub-butterfly one for low-load use and another above it that comes into play when maximum engine performance is required. The throttle bodies of each cylinder bank are moved by a dedicated electric motor. Thanks to the full Ride by Wire system, this allows complex electronic control strategies and modulation of engine ‘feel’ according to the selected riding mode.
Higher barycentre and increased chain pull angle
The fork mounting has been lowered 4 mm, while the suspension now has two link rods that are shorter by 5 mm. These changes have resulted in a 5 mm higher bike barycentre. The result? The bike is swifter at the drop-in and arrives at the apex faster.
A higher rear end also increases the chain pull angle: this results in an anti-squat effect and, therefore, greater bike stability during acceleration.
With a 24.5° rake and 100 mm trail, steering geometry remains unchanged.
Improved bike balance
The Panigale V4 is equipped with a 43 mm Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF) that provides fully adjustable spring pre-load and compression and rebound damping. The fork bodies house chrome sliders with Brembo radial caliper mountings. A Sachs steering damper completes the front-end package. At the rear there is a fully adjustable Sachs shock absorber, one side of which is attached to the Desmosedici Stradale engine via a forged aluminium bracket.
The Panigale V4 S, instead, mounts an Öhlins NIX-30 fork, an Öhlins TTX36 rear shock absorber and an Öhlins event-based steering damper. On this version suspension and steering damper are controlled by the second-generation Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 system which, among other things, features the new OBTi (Objective Based Tuning Interface).
On both versions, fork and single-sided swingarm have softer, less pre-loaded springs, resulting in more efficient use of suspension travel to even out pits and ripples on the asphalt. The combination of reduced fork stiffness and higher pre-loading gives better dive control during braking, resulting in easier, more intuitive turn-ins, especially for the less expert rider.
Wheels and tyres
While the Panigale V4 mounts cast aluminium 5-spoke wheels, the Panigale V4 S is equipped with 3-spoke forged aluminium alloy wheels.
The Panigale V4 mounts Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP tyres (120/70 ZR17 at the front, 200/60 ZR 17 at the rear). The latest version of the DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP tyre, in the 200/60 ZR 17 size already popular as a slick option in the FIM World Superbike Championship, is a racing replica milestone.
Innovative rear tyre profiling maximises the contact patch at maximum lean-over and takes full advantage of the employed bi-compound design; the latter adopts the same SC2 compound (used on racing slicks) in the shoulder zone to provide race-grade grip, yet still guarantees the strength and versatility needed for road riding.
Designed to work in harmony with the rear tyre, the front tyre has undergone further development: every aspect of handling – from feedback to support solidity, ‘safety feel’ and grip loss predictability – has been optimised by creating a new front profile. Lastly, the DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP tread features a ‘flash’ geometry intended to optimise track performance and reduce wear, plus narrower grooves designed to provide adequate support for stronger side forces.
Braking system with Brembo Stylema® monobloc calipers
The Panigale V4 range features Brembo Stylema® monobloc calipers, developed out of the already high performance M50 calipers.
Stylema® calipers, machined from a solid aluminium alloy block, have lightening zones on the body and attachment bushings; compared to the M50, these zones make them visibly more compact and lighten each caliper by 70 g without affecting stiffness. Other improvements on the internal ventilation front have made for more consistent efficiency.
Because of their extreme stiffness, Stylema® calipers offer outstanding hydraulic efficiency; this means riders can count on excellent braking responsiveness, limited brake lever travel and first-rate ‘feel’.
The dual Brembo calipers, each mounting four 30 mm pistons, bite down on 330 mm discs to give exceptional braking power. At the rear, instead, the system mounts a single 245 mm disc with a 2-piston caliper. Braking is aided by the ABS Cornering EVO system, which uses the ultra-light 9.1MP control unit.