Ducati strips the Panigale V4 for the ultimate Streetfighter
Since the Streetfighter 1098 was dropped by Ducati in 2015, the only powerful naked bike in its lineup was the Monster 1200. The arrival of the new V4 engine offers a prime opportunity to reclaim top honors in the class, and now the Italians have revealed a prototype Streetfighter V4 to debut at the 2019 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
When Ducati rolled out the Panigale V4 superbike last year, several supposedly well-informed sources suggested that a naked version was in the pipeline too. The fire picked up a few months ago when the Italians entered an unspecified V4 for the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), where sportbikes originally equipped with clip-on controls are banned for safety reasons. It couldn't be anything other than the rumored naked version of the superbike and it was confirmed soon after, when the bike was spotted testing for the race.
Ducati is indeed reviving the Streetfighter, this time built around the Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine. The 1,103 cc road-legal version of Ducati's new motor powers the Panigale V4 and V4 S series with a stunning output of 214 hp (157.5 kW), and that's just the base regime.
The 998 cc racing version of this engine in the V4 R produces 221 hp and goes up to 234 with an Akrapovic racing exhaust system. If any customer can do this with a simple add-on off the shelf, imagine what a proper racing team can get out of this powerhouse. In fact, World Superbike fans already know that Alvaro Bautista on the factory Panigale V4 R has been ruining the competition consistently since the championship took off last February, winning most of the six triple-race events until now by vast margins.
Ducati hasn't released any technical information on the new bike, other than confirming which engine it bears and setting a formal unveiling date as a 2020 production model at the EICMA show in Milan, in November.
As expected, the prototype Streetfighter V4 will make its first public outing at the PPIHC "Race to the Clouds" on June 30 in Colorado, at the hands of expert American racer Carlin Dunne.
Supposedly the motorcycle is still in development, but if Ducati is confident enough to enter it in a race it probably is already very close to production standards. At least in terms of design it certainly is, as Ducati admits that the prototype "is meant to suggest how the bike will eventually look," presented under a livery that's apparently intended to obscure its silhouette.
"The Streetfighter V4 will be one of the stars of the Ducati World Premiere 2020," said Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati. "Streetfighter V4 is the Panigale for road riding; so there was no better stage than the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for what will be the highest performance Streetfighter ever put into production."
Apparently for Ducati it is important to have the most powerful naked bike in the market, just as was the case with the Streetfighter 1098, whose 155-hp V2 engine was unrivaled at the time.
Should the Italians come up with the full 214 hp of the Desmosedici Stradale, they'd beat by a slim margin the very exclusive MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro, which produces 212 hp from its 998 cc in-line four-cylinder motor.
Apart from its compatriots' Brutale, the competition in the class doesn't come very close, with the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory and the KTM 1290 Super Duke R reaching 175 hp, and even less for the rest.
The new Streetfighter V4 will logically come with all the electronic gadgetry of the Panigale, a survival necessity on public roads with such a fire-breathing power plant strapped to your right hand.
As for pricing, expect something lower but probably not very far from the entry-level Panigale V4's price tag, for an extreme naked sportbike that should dazzle crowds at every rare sighting without cannibalizing the sales of the more down-to-earth Monster 1200 S v-twin.