After a week’s delay for “organizational reasons” Ducati has released the fourth installment of its 2023 world premiere series, It’s Racing. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the topic of the issue is the new year 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R. We knew the V4 R would be the pinnacle of Ducati’s racing development, so we eagerly awaited the official details.

And the information is as exciting as we expected. It starts at a suggested retail price of $44,995, a significant jump from the previous Panigale V4 R’s $40k price tag and what we thought would be a €40,000 price cap for World Superbike-eligible bikes.

Bigger numbers go beyond price. The new Desmosedici Stradale R 998cc engine with a maximum rev limit of 16,500rpm in sixth gear (and “only” 16,000rpm in lower gears).

Ducati claims that the Stradale R’s engine produces a maximum power of 240.5 hp. at 15,500 rpm, although there are a few asterisks near that number. First, it requires a racing exhaust. The street-legal exhaust limits output to 218 horsepower at 15,500 rpm for Euro-5 compliant markets and 207 horsepower at 13,500 rpm for North America. Peak torque is a claimed 82 lb-ft. at 12,000rpm (with Euro 5 models a few decimal places ahead). A full racing exhaust boosts the numbers to 237 hp. at 15,500 rpm and 87 lb.-ft. at 12250 rpm.

That’s still 3.5 hp. less than the claimed 240.5 hp, hence the second star. To unlock its full power, the Panigale V4 R requires a special oil developed by Shell and Ducati Corse. The oil contains additives specific to high-revving engines with dry clutches, such as the V4 R. According to Ducati, the special oil guarantees a 10% reduction in mechanical friction, resulting in an increase of 3.5 hp. (and an additional 4.5 hp at the rev limit).

In order for the oil to do its job, the Desmosedici Stradale R’s titanium connecting rods received a new “drilled” treatment. The connecting rods have small diameter holes drilled along the rod, which creates an oil channel for improved lubrication in extreme conditions. The pistons have a new geometry to reduce their weight by 2%, and they have received a Diamond Like Carbon surface treatment to further reduce friction.

Other engine upgrades include more aggressive intake cam profiles that increase lift by 0.03 inch and shorter, variable-length horns. Like the other changes, Ducati says this update was made to improve high-rpm performance.

The aforementioned dry clutch is also new, with reduced diameter, axle length and weight derived from the official Ducati World Superbike program. Ducati has also increased the number of first, second and sixth gears compared to the previous V4 R, changes that were first introduced in 2022 Panigale V4 S. According to Ducati, the updated gear ratios improve engine handling under braking and cornering acceleration. The smaller difference between first and second gear also allows the quickshifter to work more efficiently.

The V4 R also gets updated electronics from the 2022 and 2023 Panigale V4, with a new Track EVO instrument cluster display, engine braking, quickshifter and improved traction control settings. The Ducati Performance DTC EVO 3’s traction control system also gets a new Rain mode that replaces the previous Street Riding mode. Designed for wet surfaces and slick or rain tyres, this mode also flashes the rear marker lights in accordance with racing regulations for wet conditions.

The V4 R offers four power modes: full, high, medium and low. In full mode, the engine uses the full torque curve without any electronic filters except in first gear. High and Medium modes have new ride-by-wire maps with different calibrations for all six gears. Low power mode is designed for street use or low-grip surfaces, limiting power to 160 hp. and providing a more controlled throttle response. Ducati has also updated the cooling fan controls to better manage engine heat.

The aluminum alloy “front frame” chassis remains unchanged, as does the single-sided aluminum swingarm, despite speculation that Ducati may replace it with a double-sided swingarm. The height of the swing arm remains adjustable through four height positions.

The fully adjustable suspension system follows the changes made to the 2022 Panigale V4 and V4 S, with Öhlins NPX25/30 forks now offering 4.9 inches of travel (0.2 inches more than the previous V4 R) and Öhlins TTX36 the shock is modified to increase the height of the rear by 0.8 inch for a higher center of gravity.

Ducati increased the capacity of the aluminum fuel tank to 4.5 gallons and gave it a new profile to improve support for the rider’s arms and legs during braking and cornering. A flatter seat with a new cover and thinner foam allows the rider to move from side to side more easily.

The fairing has been updated to improve engine cooling, while the aerodynamic package has been revised with wings that are slimmer and more compact than the previous package, while providing the same downforce.

Ducati offers a range of accessories for the Panigale V4 R including Akrapovich full exhaust system required for maximum power. An optional set of magnesium wheels provides a claimed 1.5-pound weight reduction over Marchesini’s standard forged aluminum wheels. Ducati also offers optional Rizoma running boards, additional carbon fiber components and a Pit Stop accessory package that includes heated tires and garage stands.

The 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R comes in a MotoGP racing livery with white #1 license plates on the front and side fairings. It will be produced in a numbered series with the individual number displayed on the aluminum top triple clamp.

The Ducati World Première 2023 series will continue on October 20 with an episode called “Push Forward”. A short teaser at the end of the Panigale V4 R episode suggests it will be for the updated Streetfighter V4.

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