Ducati unloads the specialness cannon on new Panigale V4 SP2
It doesn't matter how special an Italian motorcycle is, there is always an even specialer edition in the pipeline. Something with such great, treacly dollops of specialness ladled over it that you feel like common filth for ever having fantasized over the standard version.
Such a bike is Ducati's latest, the Panigale V4 SP2 (the SP stands for Sport Production). It's billed as "the ultimate racetrack machine," and while that title is a well-flogged donkey in the motorcycle world, it's fair to say this bike won't be the limiting factor when most people take it out on track.
What you're looking at is now the fruitiest version available of the already-impressive Panigale V4 superbike. That means carbon fiber rims, matte carbon fairings, Brembo Stylema R brake calipers, a master cylinder from MCS, a Ducati-tastic dry clutch optimized to reduce "hopping" under deceleration, a lightweight 520 chain conversion, and fancy billet footpegs.
Those five split spoke carbon rims alone shave 1.4 kg (3 lb) of unsprung weight off the bike, also significantly reducing inertia in changes of direction. Not that the suspension sounds like it needs a lot of help to get the job done – it's an electronic Ohlins system with NPX25/30 forks and a TTX26 shock. These and the Ohlins electronic steering damper are controlled by Ducati's Smart EC 2.0 system, allowing "objective-based tuning" as opposed to letting you simply adjust the clickers.
The Euro V-compliant engine is revised to offer a touch more poke than the standard bike, peaking at 215.5 horsepower rather than 214. Good luck finding that drop in a bucket with your backside dyno! Switch out the standard exhaust for the specially-developed Akrapovic full system, and the bike drops 5 kg (11 lb) to 168 kg (370 lb), and gains 12.5 horses to peak at 228 horsepower. Again, though, that's a mere two ponies more than you get doing the same thing to the stock bike.
Most of the standard Panigale's terrific electronics package remains unmolested, although the SP2 comes standard with a GPS module for racetrack datalogging and automatic lap timing, as well as a data analysis tool you can use to tweak your technique if you're clever enough.
While clearly focused on track riders, it does ship with mirrors and blinkers, although you also get a little "race kit" to blank off the holes when you remove these and the license plate holder. There's an open clutch cover in there too, so you can rattle a tambourine and play the song of your people in neutral.
The pricing is of course hideous. Where the standard Panigale V4 goes for US$23,295, and the S model starts getting out of control at $29,995, the V4 SP2 will set you back a whopping $39,500. Feeling special comes with a hefty price tag, but at least you're not shelling out $100,000 for a Superleggera V4, I suppose.
Enjoy a video below, as well as a sumptuous set of photos in the gallery.