Ducati recently got back down to the business of making motorcycles in Bologna as Italy slowly awakens from their nightmare of COVID-19, and this week their best craftsmen turned their hands to producing the first pre-production units of the exclusive new Superleggera V4.
There are only 500 of these bespoke machines being made and the first are expected to arrive in Australia in the final quarter of 2020. As for the price… Well if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it, but by my reckoning this bike will command a price northwards of 150k.
It is slightly surprising that the Superleggera V4 uses the 998 cc Panigale V4 R engine rather than the larger 1103 cc powerplant used by the more road biased Panigale models.
The V4 R comes in under the litre mark to qualify for World Superbike competition and it seems Ducati decided that the race pedigree of the V4 R engine is of more value to customers of the Superleggera V4 than the more cubes approach of the V4 S. The 998 cc engine is also 2.8 kg lighter than the 1103 cc variant.
A dry clutch and individual manual adjustment of the Desmodromic timing system are more bespoke items on the Superleggera.
The claimed benchmark numbers are something to behold, 224 horsepower (234 hp with the supplied full exhaust fitted), motivating a lithe 159 kilograms in full road time would have been deemed virtually impossible not that many years ago. But here we have it in a street legal bike from Bologna.
With the supplied race kit installed the weight drops further to 152.2 kilograms..That is a massive 22kg lighter than the Panigale V4 S and V4 R. It is even 5 kilograms lighter than Ducati’s Desmosedici MotoGP machine, which by regulation has to tip the scales at 157 kg or more.
And wings…If it had any more wings I would say it was going to feature as Bruce Wayne’s motorcycle in the next Batman movie! Desmosedici GP16-derived ‘biplane’ wings guarantee a downforce of 50 kg at 270 kph, 20 kg more than that generated by the wings on the Panigale V4 MY20 and V4 R.
Other equipment items unique to the Superleggera V4 include a lightened Öhlins suspension system with pressurised fork and a Brembo braking system with Stylema R calipers. In addition, a latest-generation electronics package includes EVO 2 strategies for the DTC and DQS up/down.
Operational parameters for each control are associated by default with three reprogrammed Riding Modes (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 coordinates and intermediate times for five different circuits.
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.
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.
A limited production run of 500 units means that if you don’t have your deposit down now you are probably too late… And if you have to ask how much, well then you are probably not well-heeled enough to qualify for ownership….
Some of the lucky buggers can also purchase a dedicated SBK Experience where they will have the opportunity to test ride the Panigale V4 R that competes in WSBK.Or if you are even more flush you can be one of the 30 customers that get a gig on the MotoGP Experience which includes, you guessed it, some laps on the Desmosedici GP20 as ridden by Dovi and Petrucci.
And of course any discerning Superleggera V4 customer will want some accessories with their bikes outside of the race kit…No you get a dedicated premium leather suite, with incorporated airbag, and a carbon-fibre helmet, both emblazoned with the bike’s distinctive 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 performance. Both apparel items can be personalised with logos and are available in a range of colours. As you would expect…
165 kW (224 hp) @ 15,250 rpm – 174 kW (234 hp) @ 15.500 rpm with full racing exhaust
Torque (EU homologation)
116 Nm (85.6 lb-ft) @ 11,750 rpm – 119 Nm (87.7 lb-ft) @ 11.750 rpm with full racing exhaust
Electronic fuel injection system. Twin injectors per cylinder. Full ride-by-wire elliptical throttle bodies with aerodynamic valves. Variable length intake system
4-2-1-2 system, with 2 catalytic converters and 2 lambda probes
6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2
Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.80:1
1=38/14 2=36/17 3=33/19 4=32/21 5=30/22 6=30/24
Regina ORAW2 chain ; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket in Ergal 42
Hydraulically controlled slipper dry clutch
Carbon fiber “Front Frame”
Fully adjustable 43 mm Öhlins NPX25/30 pressurized fork with TiN treatment, billet fork bottoms, lightweight springs, fully adjustable.
5-split spoke carbon fiber 3.50″ x 17″
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Fully adjustable Ohlins TTX36 unit with GP valve and titanium spring. Carbon fiber single-sided swingarm.
5-split spoke carbon fiber 6.00″ x 17″
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17
Wheel travel (front/rear)
120 mm (4.7 in) – 130 mm (5.1 in)
2 x 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® R 4-piston callipers with Cornering ABS EVO
245 mm disc, 2-piston calliper with Cornering ABS EVO
Last generation digital unit with 5″ TFT colour display
159 kg (350 lb) – 152.2 kg (335.5 lb) with racing kit
835 mm (32.9 in)
1.480 mm (58,3 in)
Front wheel trail
100 mm (3,94 in)
Fuel tank capacity
Number of seats
Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 2, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO, Auto tyre calibration.
Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2, Full LED lighting with Daytime Running Light (DRL), GPS module, Lap Timer EVO 2, PIT limiter, Ohlins steering damper, Quick adjustment buttons, Lithium-ion battery, Auto-off indicators, Chassis in carbon fiber, Carbon fiber fairings, Carbon fiber wheels, Carbon fiber mudguardsÙ Biplane wings in carbon fiberÙ High-flow air filterÙ Type approved Akrapovič silencer in titanium.
Front and rear paddock standsÙ Battery maintainerÙ Racing Kit: Akrapovič Titanium racing exhaustÙ Machined mirror block-off plates, License plate mount removal plug, Swing arm guard, Carbon fiber clutch cover,Ducati Data Analyzer+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Side stand removal kit, Front and rear lights removal kit, Racing fuel tank cap, Brake level protection, Bike cover.
Ducati Multimedia System (DMS), Anti-theft
24 months unlimited mileage
12,000 km (7,500 mi) / 12 months
Valve clearance adjustment (km)
24,000 km (15,000 mi)
8 l/100km – 185 g/km Consumption and Emissions (only for countries where Euro 4 standard applies)
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