The science of speed – Ducati Panigale V4 2020

Exactly like a racing bike at the start of a new championship season, the Panigale V4 MY20 presents new features across every technical area, from the chassis to the engine, electronics  package  for  the  management  of  various  functions, aerodynamics, the setting, weight distribution, suspension calibration and even the Ducati Performance accessories. All round change. For the better. The Panigale V4 MY20 is more agile and enjoyable, reaches the  apex  faster  and  is  stable  in  acceleration,  even  at  full  lean. A more high-performance production sports bike that is also easier and more intuitive.

The Desmosedici Stradale engine

The new Panigale V4 2020 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 new torque delivery control strategy lets the rider stabilise more easily on the desired throttle aperture through and out of the corners. In addition, linearization of the torque curve in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear varies depending on the selected Power Mode to minimise stability loss during acceleration. The Panigale V4 is powered by the 1103 cc 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 engine is designed around the Desmodromic system, a  feature  that  contributes  to  ensuring  that  the  Ducati  is  the fastest prototype in the reigning class of the world championship. With this high-rotation engine, the “Desmo” achieves  its  maximum  technical  value,  reaching  levels  of  sophistication,  compactness  and  lightness  never  seen  before on a Ducati.

On street bikes the crankshaft rotates in the same direction as the wheels. In contrast, in MotoGP, a counter-rotating crankshaft that rotates in the opposite direction is commonly used. The Desmosedici Stradale has borrowed this technical solution to compensate for part of the gyroscopic effect produced by the wheels, making the bike more agile when changing direction. This geometry, combined with the 90° V engine layout, allows for a particular kind of firing order, the so-called “Twin Pulse”. 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 chart, the ignition points are at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380°. This particular firing order gives  the  V4  a  sound  that  is  very  similar  to  that  of  the  Desmosedici MotoGP.The active (firing) phases of cylinders on either side of the engine (left and right) are very close together, with ignition points  at  0°-90°-290°-380°.  This  is  a  tried  and  tested  solution that boosts traction when accelerating out of a turn. The crankshaft is a typical race component, counter-rotating with respect to the wheels and compensating in this way for any wheel lift during acceleration. Created in forged, case-hardened aluminium, it turns with the interposition of bearings (being monolithic) on three journals, while the valves  are  aerodynamically  shaped  to  “cut”  the  lubricant  with as little energy expenditure as possible, despite the semi-dry  casing.  Thanks  to  the  introduction  of  so-called  idle wheel on the primary driveline, it is counter-rotating, thus turning in an anticlockwise direction and generating gyroscopic effects during acceleration that are the opposite of those produced by components that rotate clockwise, thus limiting the tendency to wheelie.The wet clutch, lightweight and compact, reduces disc disengagement load, and therefore the force required on the lever thanks to a progressive self-servo mechanism.Gear shifting is carried out with support of the Ducati Quick Shift electronic system, mapped with shifting times and logics for quicker, more efficient gear changes, whether the rider is up-shifting or aggressively down-shifting.

True chassis perfection

One key feature of the new Panigale V4 MY20 is the introduction of the Front Frame. Built according to Ducati Corse specifications for the R version, changes to the suspension set-up result in a higher centre of gravity, an increased chain pull angle and improved use of suspension travel.  Thanks  to  these  modifications,  the  bike  is  easier  to lay into the corner when you ease off the brakes, gets to  the  apex  faster,  soaks  up  any  pits  or  ripples  more  effectively and behaves more neutrally out of the corner.The aluminium alloy front end is the same as that of the Panigale V4 R but less stiff, a structural change that comes directly from Ducati Corse. The new machine finished front aluminium plates make for a more flexible fork support section, a choice that results in greater front end ‘feel’ for the rider.The swingarm angle with respect to the ground is increased, as is the effect of chain pull in acceleration, meaning less rear suspension compression (so-called “squat”), which stabilises the Panigale through the longest, fastest turns.

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 stanchions to which Brembo radial callipers are affixed. The front package is completed with a Sachs steering damper. The rear boasts a fully adjustable Sacks shock absorber, attached to one side of the Desmosedici Stradale engine with a forged aluminium bracket.The Panigale V4 S comes complete with an Öhlins NIX-30 fork, rear Öhlins TTX36 shock and an Öhlins steering damper with event-based control system. On these versions, the suspension and steering damper are controlled by the second-generation Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 system.On both versions, the 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. Reduced fork stiffness translates into boosted load transfer to the front wheel during braking, for easier, more intuitive turn-ins, especially for the less expert rider.The Panigale V4 mounts die-cast aluminium wheels with a 5-spoke design, while the Panigale V4 S is equipped with 3-spoke forged aluminium alloy wheels. The wheels mount Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP tyres, 120/70 ZR17 at the front and a revolutionary 200/60 ZR 17 at the rear. The latest version of the DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP, in its 200/60 ZR 17 size, is already widely used for the slick product in the FIM Superbike World Championship and  represents  a  real  generational  leap  in  the  field  of  replica racing tyres. Innovative  rear  tyre  profiling  maximises  the  contact  patch at maximum lean and takes full advantage of the employed dual compound design, which adopts the same SC2 compound used for racing slicks in the shoulder zone to provide race-grade grip, yet still guarantees the strength and versatility needed for road riding

MotoGP-derived brakes

Mechanically-speaking,  braking  involves  330  mm  steel  discs  and  Brembo  Stylema  monobloc  callipers,  mounted  with radial attachment to the light alloy feet of the chrome fork stanchions. Cornering ABS Bosch EVO is confirmed, allowing the rider to make adjustments depending on the situation and riding style, and is uniquely equipped with the “Only Front” function that frees the rear wheel from any electronic filter while retaining Cornering ABS at the front.

Tailor-made racing electronics

21Despite  being  a  fearsome  “time  machine”  on  track,  the  Panigale V4 is still a very high-performance production sports bike. Its full power and speed cannot be expressed on the road of course, but a rider can still enjoy its dynamic qualities in total safety thanks to the three Riding Modes and dynamic safety and “vehicle control” systems. Three ABS Cornering EVO settings adapt system performance to the track, with settings 2 or 1, the latter incorporating the Only Front function, with ABS active at the front wheel even at full lean, while the rear is left free from any control. Option 3 is suited to road use or low-grip surfaces

Part of the traction control strategy of the Desmosedici GP18 MotoGP bike has already been used on the V4R and the Panigale V4 R SBK and is now made available for the V4 MY20. The DTC EVO 2 exploits a “predictive” type of strategy that significantly boosts power management even in situations of low grip, where the rear wheel is in a controlled slide.This is achieved thanks to a new electronics strategy and precision of recognising the position of the bike in space, executed by the 6-axis platform. This inertial platform has also allowed for the addition of slide control, something we see with MotoGP riders when the rear tyre produces that blue smoke.

Essentially, acting like the DTC EVO 2 on injection and throttle aperture, DSC (Ducati Slide Control) ensures slide angles remain within safe limits, even when a rider requires power while leaning out of a corner. The impossible brought to a possible level. Updates  to  response  strategies  and  speed  have  been  applied to the DWC EVO (Ducati Wheelie Control) and Ducati Power Launch (DPL) systems. The DQS EVO 2 with up/down function, developed for the new Panigale V4 2020, uses lean angle data to maximise bike stability when shifting gears through the corners. The electronic EBC EVO (Engine Brake Control) can be adjusted to work effectively with the anti-patter clutch (both the standard wet system, or the dry system, available as a Ducati Performance accessory).

TFT dashboard

Ducati was the first motorcycle manufacturer to use an instrument cluster with full TFT (Thin Film Transistor) colour display, with the 1199 Panigale in 2012. With the Panigale V4, Ducati sets a new standard, launching a bright, high definition (186.59 PPI – 800xRGBx480) full TFT 5” display with modern eye-catching graphics. Instrumentation development has prioritised readability and easy function access. The brand-new dashboard is dominated by the round ‘virtual’ rev counter on the right, marking a clean break with the past and drawing inspiration from high-end automotive  production.  Desmosedici  Stradale  revs  are  displayed within a 1000-15,000 rpm interval by a needle gauge. Movement of the latter is accompanied by a white trail that acts as a ‘shift light’, changing colour from white to orange and then red as the rev limit approaches. Two different lay-outs are available: ‘Track’ highlights lap times and makes the rpm range used on tracks much more visible; ‘Road’, instead, replaces lap times with info on  the  Ducati  Multimedia  System  (DMS)  and  the  rpm  scale is more appropriate for the rev ranges used on public roads. For improved readability, indications for (digital) top speed, selected Riding Mode and selected gear retain the same position on both layouts. As well as offering the classic menu with total mileage covered, Trip 1, Trip 2, consumption, average consumption, Trip Fuel, Trip Time, average speed, air temperature, Lap On/Off (only in “Track” mode), Player On/Off (only in “Road” mode), the Panigale V4 dash also has another menu at the bottom right which can perform two functions: display/indication of parameters linked to the set Riding Mode or quick modification of DTC, DWC, EBC and DSC parameters. Lastly, Panigale V4 indicators are of the ‘auto off’ type, which means they switch off automatically after completing  the  turn  or,  should  an  indicator  be  tripped  accidentally, switch off after the bike has travelled in a straight line for a certain distance (from 200 to 2000 metres depending on how fast the bike is going when the indicator is switched on).

Riding Modes

Riding Modes provide users with three different pre-set riding styles so that Panigale V4 performance can be adapted to the rider, the nature of the track/route and the weather conditions. Changing the Riding Modes (choosing between Race, Sport and Street) instantaneously changes the character of the engine, the electronic control parameters and, on the new “S” version, the suspension set-up too. Riders can, of course, personalise parameters to suit their riding style and subsequently restore Ducati factory settings.Race Riding Mode As the name suggests, Race RM has been developed for expert riders who want to harness the full potential of the new Panigale V4 2020 on high-grip racetracks. By selecting Race, the rider can count on 214 hp, with direct Ride-by-Wire throttle response and, on the new “S” version, a very firm suspension set-up to optimise performance. Race mode sets the electronics at a low intervention level, but without reducing safety: to maximise braking performance, the ABS only intervenes at the front wheel, though the Cornering function remains on at all times.Sport Riding ModeSelecting Sport mode gives the rider 214 hp, with direct sport-style Ride by Wire throttle response and, on the new “S” version, a sport style suspension set-up. Electronic control settings allow even less experienced riders to enjoy effective, spectacular handling. In Sport mode, for example, the Slide by Brake function is engaged, allowing riders to drift into corners safely. Rear wheel lift detection during braking is on and the ABS Cornering function is set to maximise cornering performance.Street Riding Mode Street Riding Mode is recommended when riding the Panigale V4 on the road. As with Sport Riding Mode, this RM gives the rider 214 hp and progressive Ride by Wire throttle response; on the new “S” version it features a suspension set-up that is well suited to bumpy or pitted roads. Electronic control settings ensure grip and stability to maximise safety

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