Continuing with the 959’s monocoque airbox ‘frame’ the V2 is uncannily stabile under hard braking and rolling into corners. Such a stiff chassis made the 1199 and 1299 Panigales tie themselves in knots on the throttle, but with more modest power the V2 dances through curves with unwavering accuracy. Showa fork internals are tweaked, a 2mm longer Sachs shock tips weight forward for crisper steering and there’s less rear preload for extra feel and grip.
All this adds up to sense of lightness, easy agility and the kind of corner speed that would have a clumsier superbike tripping over its laces.
Few ABS systems can handle track work now. They panic at the first sign of the rear wheel going light under extreme braking and the resulting loss of stopping power can send you sailing past a corner or clattering into the back of someone else. It’s a relief to discover the Ducati’s electronics leave the V2’s Brembos to do what they do best.
With three levels of ABS, there’s a safe a steady mode for the road or rain, one that disables the anti-rear wheel lift setting (and lets you drift in on the back brake) and one with no rear ABS for unimpeded, muscle-bulging late braking antics.
It’s the same 955cc V-twin Superquadro motor as the Panigale 959, but now fitted with a cat-packed Euro5 exhaust. Ducati say power is up 5bhp to 153bhp and torque increases a whisker, thanks to its new underslung pipe, higher-flow injectors and bigger V4-esque intakes. But our dyno results for the V2 are a
Acceleration and speed aren’t too different from the old bike’s, but that’s a good thing. It still revs manically like a race engine and has bucket-loads of smooth, crisp (especially in Race mode) and perfectly delivered thrust. A superbike will always batter mind, body and tyres with its immense torque and inertia, but the Panigale V2’s power delivery is kinder and easy to manage.
Fit, finish and paint quality are top notch and everything you’d expect from a premium-priced sportsbike like this. Aside from mirror stalks that are too easy to break you shouldn’t expect any mechanical or electronic problems. Oil servicing is either yearly, or every 7500 miles (whichever comes first) and valve checks are every 15,000 miles.
In terms of the kind of equipment and performance you get for your money, the Panigale V2 is worth it, but there’s no getting away from the fact it’s expensive to buy and insure. PCP deals make ownership easier, if you’re not worried about ever owning the bike.
Aping Ducati’s V4 superbike, the Panigale V2 has its big sister’s snarling snout, pointy rear end, gaping air intakes and for the first time a single-sided swingarm. The V4-inspired seat is 20mm longer and 5mm thicker, giving you a luxurious amount of room to play with, which will be music to the ears of taller riders.
Bars are wide and low pegs don’t punish creaky knees, but there’s still plenty of ground clearance. Completing the big Ducati look is a 4.3in multi-function TFT colour screen (slightly smaller than the V4’s by half an inch) and new switchgear.
It’s out with the 959’s relatively basic riding aids and in with the same MotoGP-derived electronic strategies as Ducati’s 2020-model V4s. The Panigale V2 now gets an autoblipper, as well as a quickshifter and a six-axis gyro for lean-sensitive ABS and engine braking control. On a slow, low grip road or track, the smoother anti-wheelie and (non-lean) traction control will be a benefit, but on fast flowing corners the Panigale V2 has so much poise, mechanical grip and not an excess of power to deal with, the electronics are rarely troubled.