Casey Stoner has been testing Ducati’s new road-going V4 superbike and, judging by MCN’s exclusive images, he’s been enjoying it… a lot! The ex-MotoGP champion refuses to make a racing return, but has been a regular Ducati MotoGP tester ands eemed happy to thrash the new V4 in a secret test at Valenica recently.
The pictures suggest that he’s enjoying Ducati’s revolutionary machine, although it’s impossible to tell whether the dramatic skills on show are all his own, or if he’s putting the next-generation electronics package through its paces. Either way, the rumour mill is unequivocal that the new V4 will have a completely new electronics system compared to the outgoing V-twin’s, and that it’s likely to allow more aggressive riding than ever before.
It’s believed that there have been big steps forward in terms of the package works under both acceleration and braking. MCN understands that the new Stradale engine has been used at almost every GP development test for the last 12 months alongside the racebike, and that the road bike team has been working in tandem with the Corse race division on the new V4. This really is promised to be a street legal, productionised GP engine.
While Casey Stoner won’t comment on his role in the development of the new model, our mole at Valencia – where Stoner spent two days riding the GP bike and the street bike back-to-back – reports that his feedback was very positive about the new engine, suggesting that it is ‘really strong’ and very similar to the MotoGP bike in terms of character, albeit with less power, and stronger mid range drive.
It apparently reminded him a lot of the V-twin it replaces, while saying that the bike itself is dramatically easier to ride. Further overheard feedback praised its cornering manners, claiming that it was easy to control its line in corners on both an open and closed throttle, which is thanks to a combination of the all-new chassis, and that updated electronics package.
Further bike details remain guarded at this stage, but Ducati have not denied that there will be two versions of the V4 in 2018, comprising a base model Panigale V4, and the Panigale V4 S seen here that boasts all the usual S upgrades.