This ultra-limited edition Ducati Panigale S Anniversario is a 205bhp high-tech update for the range-topping Italian superbike aimed at marking 90 years since the company was founded.
Ducati are promising this bike is the pinnacle of road-going superbike development so far and was unveiled by former MotoGP champion and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner along with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali at the glitzy World Ducati Week festival held over the weekend.
The Anniversario gets a host of technical and electronic improvements thrown at the bike in the hope of making it the closest possible to that of the factory World Superbike Panigale raced by Brit Chaz Davies.
The bike appears to fall between the current 1299 Panigale S and Panigale R in terms of spec, while being spiritually closer to the ultra-expensive Superleggera that was launched in 2014. Ducati say it will also use a new version of the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) dubbed DTC EVO, which will allow riders to drift the bike on the power and use the throttle to steer the bike; all in total control as the electronic control systems will prevent the bike crashing.
The Anni is a strictly limited edition model, with just 500 are being built globally – guaranteeing instant collector status, and a massive rush to buy this bike. Each bike will have an etched numbered top yoke to signify which number of the 500 it is.
Most striking to look at is the new racing-inspired black, white and red paintjob which owes a lot to the factory racing bikes in both WSB and MotoGP, and clearly sets the bike apart from the rest of the range. The gold-painted wheels are a traditional touch for Ducati limited edition bikes through the years, and there’s a gold hue to the special Akrapovic exhausts, too.
A new steering head insert shifts the front wheel forwards by 5mm, exactly matching the chassis geometry of the range-topping Panigale R, while a special lightweight lithium battery, carbon-fibre heelguards, hugger, and a different rear shock unit all contribute to the Anni shedding 2.5kg over the S model.
Ducati have worked extremely hard to ensure the electronics on the Anniversario are as advanced as possible for any road bike currently available. While this model is being presented as a limited edition at this stage, it’s almost certain some or all of these advances will be rolled out across the superbike range in the coming years.
At the heart of the enhancements is the new DTC EVO and new Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO systems which manage to both increase control but at the same time allow the rider to push the limits of what the bike can do in terms of rear wheel slide and wheelies too.
In addition to the new DTC and DWC systems are Bosch cornering ABS, the Ducati Quick Shifter (DQS) for bi-directional clutchless gearchanges, Engine Brake Control (EBC) and Öhlins Smart EC semi-active suspension.
The Anniversario also comes with a racing kit consisting of a titanium Akrapovič Racing exhaust, billet aluminium mirror blockoff plates, and a cover for the hole created by removing the numberplate holder for track days.
You can drift it?
It would appear drifting the bike Anniversario is distinctly possible thanks to its new traction control algorithms, which allow more precise and consistent intervention.
Like everything in computing, evolution and improvement is all about being able to crunch numbers, evaluate the data and create a solution is a shorter amount of time and Ducati has no doubt used all of the work it has done in MotoGP and WSB to help with this.
At the heart of the system is a Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which senses the bike’s lean angle and other parameters to judge the required intervention to control the spin of the rear wheel. Within each DTC EVO setting this level of spin can be metered out precisely and consistently. At DTC level one there is enough freedom of slip to allow the rear wheel to spin quite some way beyond what has been previously possible with the DTC turned on.
DTC EVO adds the ability to intervene with the control of the throttle body butterfly valves, in addition to altering spark advance and fuel injection. Under conditions in which high-speed intervention of the DTC EVO system is not needed, closing of the butterfly valves allows the system to manage traction while maintaining optimal combustion parameters, resulting in smoother intervention and engine response.
The Anniversario to cost £23,995 when it arrives on our shores.
Ducati 1299 Panigale S Anniversario – in brief
Engine: The powerhouse 1299 Panigale Superquadro V-twin remains unchanged and that means 205bhp of thudding power is on hand to deliver fearsome performance. Combined with the new DTC EVO system it should make for some fast lap times in the right hands.
Chassis: The frameless design of the Panigale has been an inherent part of the bike since it was first launched and it remains in place in the Anniversario with the engine staying as stressed part of the chassis.
Suspension: Öhlins Smart EC suspension all round for the Anniversario as seen on the Panigale S model. That means the bike reacts to counter pitch and squat under braking and acceleration for greater handling stability.
Wheels: Gold-painted wheels have been a Ducati trademark for decades and these forged Marcheshini items are both light and strong and help to reduce unsprung weight for easier changes of direction.
Paintscheme: It’s not a replica paintjob but has strong hints of both the current factory MotoGP and WSB bikes can be seen in this traditional red, white and black livery.
Exhaust: Slovenian titanium exhaust masters Akrapovic have been lending their technical and tuning skills to factory racing bikes for 25 years and this masterpiece is laser-etched to show it’s for this bike alone.
Headstock: Each bike gets an individually-numbered laser-etched headstock that states which number of the 500 you own. A headstock insert also shifts the front wheel forwards by 5mm to replicate the chassis geometry set-up for the homologation special Panigale R.
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