In addition to the updated Supersport 950 recently announced, Ducati has also unveiled a new member of the Panigale V4 family – the 2021 Panigale V4 SP. Essentially a Panigale V4 R but with the S model’s 1103cc engine, carbon fiber wheels, and electronic Öhlins suspension, the SP marks a return for the Sport Production initials after several years away.
Because of its 1103cc V4 engine, which isn’t legal for racing (at least not World Championship-level racing), Ducati is essentially calling this bike the ultimate track bike for those of us with no intentions of competing. Despite some tweaking to make it Euro5 compliant, the latest 1103cc, counter-rotating, V4 hasn’t lost any of its 214 horsepower or 91.1 lb-ft of torque, says Ducati, and all that power is now fed to the back tire via the latest edition of Ducati Traction Control – DTC3 – which the entire Panigale V4 range will receive.
The entire Panigale V4 lineup will also see a new Race Riding Mode, which is now split into two settings. Previously, on the 2020 Panigale V4, torque was reduced in the first three gears to make it easier to manage the throttle on corner exits. This mode still remains, but the new Race Riding Mode now gives you full power everywhere, meaning you’re in complete control once you twist the grip.
The SP carries over a lot of features from the Panigale V4 Superleggera, too, like the carbon fiber wheels (3.1 lbs lighter than the forged aluminum wheels on the S model), Brembo Stylema brake calipers (with drilled pistons for better cooling), RCS 19 master cylinder (with remote adjuster), dry clutch and the same 520-pitch chain for reduced parasitic drivetrain losses.
Along with the high-end components, it’s hard to ignore the sheer looks of the SP. The livery for the SP is inspired by the winter test schemes used by Ducati’s MotoGP and World Superbike teams, with some artistic flair by the Ducati Style Center. The fuel tank is in exposed aluminum, the fairings are matte black, and come with tasteful fluorescent red detailing. Carbon fiber components, such as the front mudguard and wings round out the package.
Like the Panigale V4 S, the SP version is also equipped with an Öhlins NIX-30 fork, Öhlins TTX36 rear shock absorber, and Öhlins steering damper controlled by the second generation Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 system. In our opinion, the analog version of this setup is better suited for track use, which this bike was created for, but the automatic adjustments from the electronic suspension will make street riding slightly less jarring.
The Panigale V4 SP is equipped with the Ducati Data Analyzer+ (DDA+) kit with GPS module. The Ducati Data Analyzer+ (DDA+) is a telemetry system, comparable to those used in racing competition, which consists of a device for data acquisition via CAN line, and analysis software for Windows and Mac PCs inspired by the professional applications.
The Panigale V4 and V4 S will be available in North American Ducati dealers starting in December, with the Panigale V4 SP estimated for March 2021. Pricing for the Panigale V4 SP in the United States will begin at an MSRP of $37,000. Pricing for the Panigale V4 in the United States will be at a starting MSRP of $22,295, with the “S” version at a starting MSRP of $28,695.