2022 Ducati Panigale V4 Range Sharpens UpArmani Moffatt
Like so many top level sportsbikes, the argument could be made that they really don’t need to get any better. At least, not any time soon, but then the march of progress is alluring in its own way and who doesn’t like things getting better and better? Well, Ducati rarely stand still, and thus it is with their 2022 Panigale line up.
In fact, like others, Ducati are usually tweaking, adjusting or adding every year in some way to their motorcycles, but for the big Panigale they say this is the most significant upgrade yet. One which makes it fast enough to apparently allow their test riders faster around their test circuits, when ridden back to back with the last version. Quite how that translates to Joe Bloggs popping out for Sunday spin is immaterial – that it’s better than it was before will be the only thing that matters for some.
Updates started at the engine, the biggest change being a move to a gearbox similar to the race homologated Panigale R, meaning a longer first, second and sixth-gear. All to make it easier to ride, which may seem a little backwards but with the power and torque on tap this is genuinely a good thing. A new oil pump is the least sexy addition, though apparently reduces power absorption, while the only other change of note is a new exhaust which reduces back pressure. The upshot? An extra 1.5bhp, which doesn’t sound like a lot but, hey, more than before, right?
Aerodynamically things have been improved, with a redesigned fairing (and wings) allegedly drawn from their MotoGP adventures fronting those stunning looks, even though they look quite different… Anyway, at 186mph these changes will produce a whopping 38kg of downforce, so the chances of most of us ever feeling this full force will be slim at best!
But, again, it doesn’t matter, it’s on there and it does a job, so that’s job done. They’ve even made a small hole on the left to help cool the quick-shifter sensor – no kidding!
The seat has been made flatter and comes in a new material coating, while the tank allows both a better purchase ability for riders and, cool bonus, an extra 1-litre of fuel over the last model. Elsewhere, rider power modes have been adjusted via a new ‘Power Mode Logic’ something or other for the four modes. Full Power mode, for example, now only features power sapping hand-holding in first gear, but the rest is all yours, all 215bhp of it! Low mode, by contrast, limits the engine to 150bhp and a far softer throttle response.
And really, that’s about it, so while Ducati may claim it’s the most significant upgrade, in the grand scheme of things it’s hardly night and day twixt it and the old one, is it? Okay, the new gearbox is a big deal, as are the the refined electronics, but the Panigale was already so stacked with the best of everything already (top electronic Ohlins suspension, Brembo Stylema brakes, and so forth), that even hardened journos will struggle to really split the two, only the longer gears would really give anything away.
Yet, and not to hammer the point home too much, it is still a slightly better machine than that it replaces, which means progress. And progress is what drives us to whatever replaces the Panigale next, so long may it go on. In the meantime, if the lack of a slightly linger first gear was what stopped you buying the old Panigale after a test ride, well, you may want to try one again! The new V4 will be available to order right now at your nearest Ducati dealer very soon, so to any who may go and test ride one – have fun!
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