The Ducati Panigale V4 Superleggera is a bike dominated by numbers. These three, in particular, stand out: 152kg, 231bhp and $100,000. That’s the weight and power figure for the bike with the Racing Kit fitted, and the expected price tag shown in a recently leaked document.
The Racing Kit - which includes a non-road-legal titanium Akrapovič exhaust - gives the Superleggera 1.54hp/kg power-to-weight ratio. It’s hardly sluggish without it, with the weight increasing slightly to 159kg and the power dipping to a still ludicrously potent 221bhp.
It is, Ducati says, the only street-legal motorbike in the world with an all-carbonfibre load-bearing chassis structure - that being the frame, subframe, swingarm and wheels. All of that tasty carbon drops the overall weight figure by 6.7kg.
It’s largely based on the Panigale V4 R, with which the Superleggera shares a 998cc engine. The bore matches that of the standard Panigale V4 engine, but with a forged steel crankshaft reducing the stroke and thus the capacity by around 100cc. Due to the use of new internals and widened throttle bodies, it’s more powerful despite the reduction in displacement.
As you’d expect considering the price, the use of carbonfibre goes further than the chassis. The fairings are made from the stuff, as are the ‘biplane’ aerofoils, which are inspired by Ducati’s 2016 MotoGP bike. They’re more aggressive than the aero parts on the V4 and V4 R, providing 50kg of downforce at 168mph - an improvement of 20kg.
The Superleggera also gets a lighter Ohlins suspension setup featuring a titanium spring on the rear shock and valving pinched from the GP bike. The brakes are supplied by Brembo, and just to give you an idea of the incredible attention to detail on this bike, the front lever has been CNC machined to help cut drag.
The Race A, Race B and Sport riding modes have all been reprogrammed, while traction control, launch control, slide control, anti-wheelie and cornering ABS are all fitted as standard. All of this electronic trickery works to together Ducati’s latest six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit).
The V4 Superleggera is the closest thing a normal punter can get to World Superbike, as neatly demonstrated by Ducati test rider Alessandro Valia flinging a slick-shod example around Mugello in 1min 52.45sec. That’s just a couple of seconds shy of Michele Pirro aboard the 2019 V4 R SBK machine.
When you think about it, $100k seems like a bit of a bargain.