With the Superleggera V4, Ducati fulfils the dream of pushing back the limits of engineering, attention to detail and motorcycle design, with a project that represents the Bolognese company’s greatest masterpiece in terms of engineering, performance and design. After an exclusive preview for its most passionate and loyal clients, Ducati now officially unveils its new Superleggera V4, the most powerful and technologically advanced motorcycle ever made by the Borgo Panigale manufacturer, produced in a limited edition of just 500 individually numbered bikes. The Superleggera V4 is the world’s only street-legal motorcycle with the entire load-bearing structure of the chassis (frame, subframe, swingarm and wheels) made from composite material, achieving a 6.7 kg reduction in weight thanks to these components.
To ensure the highest quality and safety standards, these components are 100% tested using the most sophisticated techniques borrowed from the aerospace industry, such as thermography, ultrasound inspections and tomography. The chassis dimensions have been modified for optimised track use by increasing the length of the swingarm. The overall result is unparalleled deceleration power, faster leaning down into corners and sharper lines riding out of bends. The level of performance achieved is extremely high: Alessandro Valia, an official Ducati tester, took the bike, fitted with the racing kit and slick tires, around the Mugello circuit in 1:52:45, less than two seconds from the lap time of the Panigale V4 R SBK, winner of the 2019 Italian Motorspeed Championship (CIV) with Michele Pirro.
Many components are made of carbon fibre, moulded into advanced aerodynamic shapes. These include the fairing, which ensures a level of aerodynamic efficiency that matches and exceeds that of current MotoGP bikes. Thanks to the ‘biplane’ aerofoils inspired by the 2016 Ducati MotoGP, with the highest performance in this field, it can guarantee a downforce of 50 kg at 270 kph, 20 kg more than that created by the aerofoils on the Panigale V4 MY20 and V4 R. This downforce improves acceleration, by countering the tendency to wheel-up, and increases braking stability.
The carbon fibre fairings also sport an eye-catching Desmosedici GP19-inspired livery that juxtaposes the red of the GP19 with a naked carbon that emphasises shapes, materials and technical details. Beneath the carbon skin lies the Desmosedici Stradale R engine, lighter and more powerful than ever. The 998 cm3 90° V4 that powers the Superleggera V4 weighs, in fact, 2.8 kg less than the 1,103 cm3 V4. Thanks to a type-approved Akrapovič exhaust, it delivers no less than 224 CV in road-legal configuration (EU homologation figures). That figure rises to 234 CV when fitted with the titanium Akrapovič exhaust for track use, which is included in the Racing Kit supplied with the bike. The racing nature of the engine is enhanced by the use of the dry clutch and the individual manual adjustment of the Desmodromic timing system.
Only on the Superleggera V4, a special engine calibration for the racing exhaust gives riders access to a “RaceGP” display. Intended exclusively for track use, and designed with valuable input from Andrea Dovizioso, it is a direct offshoot of the instrument panel on the Desmosedici GP20. Thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre, titanium and magnesium components and others machined from solid aluminium, the Superleggera V4 has a dry weight of just 159 kg (16 kg less than the Panigale V4), resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 1.41 hp/kg: a record-breaking figure for a road-legal sports bike. Mounting the supplied Racing kit and switching the bike to its track configuration boosts power to 234 hp, dropping the weight to 152.2 kg and raising the power-to-weight ratio to 1.54 hp/kg.
The electronic controls have also been developed to enhance the racing nature of this motorcycle. Their operational parameters are associated by default with three reprogrammed Riding Modes (named Race A, Race B and Sport ). There are also – for the very first time – five additional Riding Modes that can be personalised with the rider’s preferred settings. Riders can monitor lap times via the upgraded Lap Timer, which can record finish line and split times coordinates for five favourite circuits. These can be recalled at the start of each track day without having to repeat the set-up procedure. The default system settings feature the finish line/split time details of: Laguna Seca, Mugello, Jerez, Sepang and Losail. This is topped by a latest-generation electronics package including EVO 2 strategies for the DTC and DQS up/down.
Other standard items include a lighter Öhlins suspension system, with a pressurised fork and lighter machined aluminium fork bottoms, a titanium shock absorber spring and GP-derived valves that improve the damping of road bumps during the initial compression stage. The braking system is the best in the Brembo production range, with an MCS calliper featuring a remotely adjusted lever gap and Stylema® R callipers, exclusive to the Superleggera V4, to provide greater front-brake stroke consistency in long track runs. Meticulous attention to detail is also obvious in the radiator cap machined from solid aluminium and the dedicated ignition key with an aluminium insert showing the bike number. The exclusiveness of the materials and technical solutions is reflected in the limited number of bikes: just 500, all individually numbered and provided with a certificate of authenticity. The bike ID number (XXX/500), which matches the VIN, is displayed on the frame, fork yoke and ignition key.
The start of deliveries is planned for June 2020 in Europe and, given the extreme complexity of the production of so many components, the rate is limited to only 5 bikes/day. However, all the bikes will be produced within 2020. Superleggera customers only have the chance to purchase an exclusive Superleggera V4 premium leather suit with integrated air-bag and a carbon fibre helmet, both emblazoned with the bike’s colours and graphics. Produced by Dainese, the leathers combine lightness and strength with the safety of the D-air® system. Likewise, the meticulously crafted Arai helmet – which features aeronautical-grade carbon fibre – offers unsurpassed protection and comfort.
The package that Ducati has prepared for enthusiasts who purchase a Superleggera V4 also includes access to the “SBK Experience”, allowing owners to ride the Panigale V4 R, which competes in the SBK World Championship, on a test track at Mugello. Even more amazingly, 30 Superleggera V4 owners will have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy the “MotoGP Experience” and live the dream of every racing enthusiast. For the very first time, they will be able to ride a circuit on the Desmosedici GP20 used by Dovizioso and Petrucci, with the close support of the Ducati Corse technicians.
These special events and opportunities are as unique as this new Ducati model. The Superleggera V4 is extreme, designed and developed to achieve maximum on-track performance and ensure all the reliability and rider-friendliness of a road-legal sport bike. With the Superleggera V4, Ducati pushes back the limits even further. The technical expertise and knowledge developed and continuously evolved in MotoGP is made available to enthusiasts of engineering and performance on two wheels.