The end of an era, a very long and distinguished era at that. Ducati is moving to a V4 layout for a new generation of sports bikes engines – still with desmodromic valve gear – but the vee-twin still has one last shout. The Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition.
The Final Edition was shown at the weekend’s Laguna Seca, California round of the World Superbike Championship, together with racers Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri seen in the video below.
Each 1299 Panigale R Final Edition is individually numbered. It’s powered by an engine called the Superquadro delivering 209hp at 11,000rpm – in a motorcycle weighing just 179kg dry.
The engine features a lighter crankshaft with a larger crank pin and tungsten balancing pads, while the con-rods, like the intake-exhaust valves, are made of titanium. As on Superbike engines, the two 116mm diameter pistons have just two segments and slide on steel cylinder liners.
The electronics package features the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and is equipped with ABS Cornering, Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO), Ducati Traction Control EVO (DTC EVO) and Engine Brake Control (EBC). These systems have default settings linked to the selected Riding Mode (Race, Sport and Wet) but can be personalised.
“I’m incredibly proud to present this latest version of our Panigale,” said Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali. “Maybe no other motorcycle manufacturer has bound its name so tightly to an engine as Ducati has to its sports twin-cylinder.
“Today, we’re here to celebrate its history, just as we stand on the cusp of a new era in which our desmodromic system will be used on a new generation of V4 engines derived from extensive experience in MotoGP, a championship in which our engine has demonstrated outstanding performance.
“But that’s the future. Today, we want to pay homage to a twin-cylinder engine that – thanks to incredible torque and compactness – has seen Ducati win races in every SBK championship it has ever participated in.
“In short, it’s the engine that has written World Superbike history. From Marco Lucchinelli’s first victory on 3 April 1988 with the 851 at Donington Park (in the first-ever world championship for modified production models) to the stunning 2017 wins by Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri on the Panigale R, Ducati has won no less than 333 races and taken 17 Constructors’ titles and 14 Rider’s titles.”