It was all a bit emotional. Even Claudio Domenicalli, Ducati CEO, got a bit sniffly after the video of the new four-cylinder Panigale motor on the dyno was played. This was the first glimpse of Ducati’s future, and for the flagship road bike and Superbike homologation special, the future is four cylinders.
To be strictly correct, a couple of different sizes, but four cylinders for road and track. Ducati’s special expertise has always been in cylinder head design for high-revving, wide-bore engines. It’s one of the reasons Audi bought the firm. So it’s no surprise that the new-generation road engine is a V4 using the same 81mm bore as the MotoGP Desmosedici. But to make the motor useable on the street Ducati had to stroke it out to give a swept volume of over a litre, 1103cc to be precise. There will be a second version, no doubt with an R after its name, with a short-stroke crank to bring it under a litre and legal for Superbike racing. You will also get a rearwards—rotating crank, over 210 horsepower, oval throttle bodies, and thanks to 70-degree offset crankpins it still sounds a bit like a V-twin.