Half a century on from the creation of the Apollo, Ducati is now finally bringing a V4 motorcycle to the global marketplace.
At the MotoGP race at Misano on Sept.7, Ducati displayed the liquid-cooled Desmosedici Stradale engine which will power its Panigale V4 sportbike to be unveiled at the Milan Show in November. This will be the first ever mass production Ducati with more than two cylinders.
The new 90° V4 engine is closely based on the MotoGP Desmosedici motor currently leading the World Championship [on the day of its launch]. Equipped with the same desmodromic valve gear, backwards-rotating crankshaft with crankpins offset at 70°, and a Twin Pulse (aka Big Bang) firing sequence that enhances drive out of turns, its front cylinders are banked 42° rearwards from horizontal to optimise weight distribution, same as on Ducati’s MotoGP engine.
The new V4 motor is a semi-dry sump design with four oil pumps – one for delivery, and three for return. For the first time ever on any Ducati customer model the Desmosedici Stradale’s engine’s twin-injector oval-section throttle bodies are fitted with variable length intake ducts to optimise cylinder fuelling across the rev range, thus giving significant advantages in power delivery and handling.
However, to prevent any Panigale V4 customers taking it racing next year, the 16-valve dohc 81 x 53.5 mm engine measuring 1103cc with composite gear and chain camdrive has a slightly larger displacement than the 1000cc SBK four-cylinder limit – notionally to maximise mid-range torque. Power output from the Euro 4 compliant engine is quoted as exceeding 155kW/210bhp at 13,000 rpm, while maximum torque exceeds 120Nm/12.2 Kgm from 8,750 rpm upwards. A publicity video of the Panigale V4 lapping Mugello shows the engine is redlined at 14,500 rpm. However, Ducati confirms a higher-revving R version measuring under 1000cc that’s intended for track use, is under development to provide the basis for homologating the Superbike and Superstock race version for use from 2019 onwards.
“It's with undiluted pride that we unveil this technological gem," stated Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali. “It represents the start of a new chapter for our company, underlining our vitality and an unshakeable commitment to investment in new products. This engine also highlights the close collaboration between Ducati Corse and the factory development team, proving just how instrumental racing can be in developing the technology that is later applied on production bikes.”