Ducati Panigale V4R (2019 and 2023) Reviews

Highlights

  • 998cc homologation special
  • More power (with race exhaust fitted)
  • Mapping and rider aid upgrades

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Power: 215 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: Medium (427 lbs / 194 kg)

Prices

New £38,995
Used £23,000 - £29,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Ducati Panigale V4R was built to win the World Superbike championship and nothing else. Its limit might be on another planet for mere mortals like us, but the good news is its smooth and easy to ride at a normal pace.

It’ll be tractable on the road, despite its short-stroke motor and still has service intervals way more generous than any of its rivals. But it’s just like a factory racer when you push on and so brutally powerful, light and unapologetically stiff, you’ll need the strength, stamina and skill of a pro to feel the real benefit of the wings and do justice to the electronics, chassis and engine.

Although the standard Panigale V4 was impressive and offered plenty of performance, the 1103cc capacity meant it was illegal in production-based superbike championships like World and British Superbikes.

Cue the Panigale V4R - Ducati’s most powerful road bike, making 218bhp, or 231bhp with the optional race kit exhaust (which isn’t road legal).

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R updates

For 2023 the Ducati Panigale V4 R gets a host of engine upgrades to make it stronger and more tuneable for racing, new electronics and mapping, gas forks, new bodywork and wings. It oozes specialness, from its R badge to its flawless build quality and top-drawer componentry.

Like all latest generation Panigale V4s its fiery power is subtlety harnessed by flawless fuel mapping and electronic rider aids. Chassis tweaks make it easier to ride fast, but you need to be on your game to do any kind of justice to its cornering and braking abilities. It’s exciting and brutally quick here at Imola with a limit that far exceeds normal riders like us and undoubtedly the closest thing you can buy to a racer with lights and mirrors.

Yes, it is the ultimate trackday machine, but now feels similar to its cheaper, bigger-cubed V4 sisters, just because they’ve raised their game and become so refined. The R delivers a little more drama with the way it devours revs, but it’s hard to justify the extra cost, unless you’re a race team, or well-healed collector.

Watch our Ducati Panigale V4R 2023 video review here:

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Never has the gap between a Ducati R-model superbike and its siblings been so big. The Panigale V4R feels nothing like a road bike when you take it on track. It accelerates so brutally, turns so fast and pummels your body with so much force it makes the 1103cc Panigale V4S – MCN’s sportsbike of 2018, feel like a soft, fluffy touring bike.

Ducati are desperate for WSB glory after the old V-twin Panigale failed to win a world superbike championship. With rules now tied more closely to showroom models than ever the idea for the new V4R was simple: make the road bike as race-ready as possible and there’s little left to do when you turn it into a racer. Mission accomplished.

For a bike with such searing performance it’s incredibly easy to ride…to a point. Throttles don’t come smoother, electronics safer or grip as grippy. It’s more agile than the V4 1100 and infinitely more stable on the throttle, where there’s less instant torque trying to turn the chassis and rear tyre inside out. You could easily ride it to the shops.

A challenge to ride very fast

On the other hand it’s a challenge to ride very fast. It’ll show the 1100 a clean pair of heels on track, but the V4R is so stiff, small and powerful, it’s a struggle to hang on. Trying to harness the full force of braking, acceleration and cornering quickly saps your strength.

We’ve finally come to a point where a road bike is such a thinly disguised racer only a pro can begin to taste its fruits. Most superbikes flatter to deceive, but the Ducati wastes no time showing you it’s far better than you.

While the long-stroke 1100 is packed with so much torque you can choose lazy gears and not trouble its redline the V4R loves to rev. Winding it around to 13,000rpm, roughly where you’d take the 1100 results in face-peeling acceleration, but there’s still another 3000rpm to go. Rev it to the moon and the razor blade-gargling engine note becomes crisper, shriller and more gravelly.

MCN's Neeves struggles to keep the front end down

Acceleration

Searing along straights, dispensing with gears as fast as you can feed them in, with electronically assisted ease, the V4R delivers factory superbike-grade acceleration, as the cracking exhaust note sharpens its daggers and plunges them into your brain.

A finger full of electronically assisted front Brembo and a stamp on the rear sends the world tumbling into reverse when its time to brake. The combination of electronic engine braking control and back-slipping dry clutch lets you bang down through clutch-less gears with neither a hop or a skip from the rear end, as you carve serenely towards the apex.

Ducati say the wings calm high-speed wheelies so much, you can run less anti-wheelie - so fewer electronics pulling at your coattails and more chance to use all that power. They also help pin the front down under braking and turning-in at lower speeds.

A counter-rotating crank

Unlike the 1100, all the V4R wants to do is get to full lean as fast as possible and head-butt every apex with little input from the rider. And when you get back on the throttle, the Ducati turns even tighter, thanks to the magic of its counter-rotating crank.

MotoGP bikes haven’t sprouted wings for the hell of it, but let’s be completely honest: it’s hard to single out what they’re actually doing when you’re hanging on for grim death on a bike with the power of Ducati’s original 2003 MotoGP Desmosedici GP3.

The V4R has unflappable high-speed stability and rails into corners faster than you dare push on a motorcycle costing as much as my first house. Is it the wings, anti-wheelie, grip from the tyres, poise from the chassis, or clever crank doing the job? I suspect it’s a bit of everything. Having said that the Ducati still pulls huge wheelies in the higher gears over crests, so the wings only do so much.

New traction and slide control settings helps the rear tyre track more smoothly when its slipping and quickly delivers confidence. Power doesn’t cut audibly when the TC chimes in, like a BMW HP4 Race - it’s more a stuttering you feel through your body as the rear gently breaks traction, like sitting down wearing bubble wrap underpants.

There are no major changes to the V4 R’s ali chassis for the 2023 version. It still has cut outs in the frame next to the headstock to introduce flex and feel at full lean and a four-way adjustable swingarm pivot. It still runs non-semi-active Öhlins suspension, simply because a trackday bike’s suspension doesn’t need to be electronically twiddled on the move.

Its TTX36 shock is longer with a lighter spring (from 105N/mm to 80 N/mm), a remote preload adjuster and 20mm more ride height. NPX 25/30 forks are now gas-pressurised with 5mm more travel. It all gives the V4 R more feel in the corners and compliments its calmer power delivery. Using the full force of the Stylema calipers is still like hitting a brick wall.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R front brakes

 

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Ducati has taken its new 1100cc V4 Stradale motor and shrunk it down to fit superbike racing rules. Running the same 81mm bore as before the stroke is shortened by 5.1mm to 48.4mm bringing capacity down to a 998cc. Red line is set to 16,000rpm and 16,500rpm in top.

It has higher lift cams, titanium instead of steel conrods, a lighter crank, variable intake trumpets and bigger elliptical throttle bodies (up from 52mm to 56mm). Despite its raciness, the valve clearance service is still every 15,000-miles. It’s Ducati’s most powerful road bike engine making 218bhp, or 231bhp with the race kit exhaust.

Ducati claims its CNC machined STM-EVO SBK dry clutch has a more efficient slipper action on aggressive downshifts and with no clutch plate dust getting inside the engine, cleaner oil, too.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R engine

For 2023 the Desmosedici Stradale R engine shares the same basic architecture as the bigger 1103cc engine used for the rest of the Panigale V4 range and the 2014 Desmosedici race motor that inspired it. It has a counter rotating crank, a twin pulse firing order and the same 81mm bore but a shorter 48.4mm stroke to bring it down to size.

For ’23 it gets 5g lighter pistons with DLC-coated skirts, higher lift inlet cams and ‘Gun drilled’ titanium conrods that are drilled longitudinally through the rod. It lets oil pass from the top to bottom end for better lubrication. A first for a road bike.

It has 5mm shorter inlet trumpets, a new cooling fan strategy and ride-by-wire throttle assembly with minimal free play. It now makes a claimed 215bhp at the crank it’s actually 3bhp down on the previous model, due to its Euro5 exhaust.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R front on the track

Fit Ducati’s full titanium Akrapovic racing exhaust system, complete with its ‘wheelbarrow’ handle end cans and power goes up 19bhp to a heady 234bhp. That’s 3bhp more than the previous Panigale V4 R and 9bhp up on the 1103cc Panigale V4 S with a race exhaust fitted. The 105db system should be quiet enough for most trackdays and it’s a useful 5kg lighter, but isn’t included in the price and costs an extra £7441.20.

You can also use Shell’s Ducati Corse super-slippery oil that reduces internal friction by a claimed 10% and releases even more power, to the tune of a 237bhp. The oil wouldn’t work with a wet clutch, so a dry clutch is standard and weighs 800grams less than before.

Performance is similar old R, as you’d expect with slightly less power. It still accelerates with the venom of a racer and V4 thrives on revs, hitting 16,000rpm between gearshifts and 16,500rpm in top. That’s 900rpm more than Bautista’s factory Panigale R is allowed to rev thanks to WSB balancing rules.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R reviewed by MCN's Michael Neeves

The power delivery has lost most of its aggression and rawness thanks to Ducati’s latest magical mapping and rider aid upgrades, even in its full fat riding mode. It’s less demanding to ride quickly, but now feels like the regular V4, albeit revvier with less grunt off the corners. Like the latest V4, longer 1st/2nd/6th gears mimic the WSB racer’s. First is so tall the V4 R is almost impossible to wheelie and top is like an overdrive.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

There were teething problems with the early model Panigale V4 and V4 S, but they were sorted with recalls. The V4 R’s chassis components are top drawer and despite its power its new Stradale R motor still has 15,000-mile valve check service intervals. Owners’ reviews for the R don’t reveal any major problems aside from pricey servicing and some corrosion if used in all weathers.

We don't have any Ducati Panigale V4R owners' reviews because it's such a niche model, but you could leave one here.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R front quarter

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

This is as close as you’ll find to a race bike for the road. The Ducati Panigale V4 R has a competition engine, the best of the best chassis parts and is a work of art in the flesh. The eye-watering price tag is worth it when you look at what you get for the money, but the cheaper Panigale V4 and V4 S are now so good it’s hard to justify paying the extra, other than the kudos of the R badge.

The V4R is a rival to the superbike homologation specials like the BMW M1000RR, Honda Fireblade SP and Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R knee down on track rear

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

For the first time the Ducati Corse racing department have had a hand in designing a road bike’s bodywork and aerodynamics. The V4R’s nose is 15mm wider each side, the screen 34mm taller and each side panel is chunkier by 38mm.

Single blade wings come from the 2016 MotoGP Desmosedici, which Ducati says is more effective at high speed anti-wheelie and braking/turn-in stability, than the faired-in, regulation-friendly versions MotoGP they use now.

They deliver 4kg of vertical force at 62mph and a massive 30kg (a bag and a half of spuds) at 167mph. New fairing louvers help suck more hot air from around the radiator and oil cooler.

Wings provide greater downforce

More frame flex

In a sea of high technology Ducati has used a very basic solution to give the ultra stiff V4 frame more flex and feel in the corners – they’ve cut dirty great holes in it. To give race teams a wider range of chassis adjustment the V4R has a four-position swingarm pivot and the electronic semi-active suspension Öhlins makes way for mechanically adjustable units. NPX 25-30 forks are pressurised and 600grams lighter, a TTX36 shock sits at the rear and spring rates are all heavier.

Electronics are taken from the V4, but new ‘predictive’ traction and slide control systems are smoother for the track. Dash features a new lap timer showing two splits.

Ducati Panigale V4R updates for 2023

When the Panigale V4 R arrived in 2019 it looked subtly different to the V4. Its lines were sharper and it had wings, which added to its homologation specialness. Now the entire Panigale family uses the same bodywork, restyled in 2022.

You can tell the R by its Foggy-esque numero uno paintjob, exposed ali tank, carbon fibre mudguard, exhaust heat shield and slotted wings that create less drag and still produce the same 37kg of downforce at 186mph. It’s also numbered for the first time but isn’t a limited edition.

Its bigger new tank and seat shape makes for a spacious riding position that adds to the Ducati’s friendliness and its usefully tall screen shields you from highspeed windblast.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R front fairing and headlight

Specs

Engine size 998cc
Engine type V4
Frame type aluminium front frame
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 194kg
Front suspension fully adjustable 43mm Ohlins NPX
Rear suspension fully adjustable Ohlins TTX36
Front brake Brembo M4.30
Rear brake Brembo twin piston
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 200/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost -
New price £38,995
Used price £23,000 - £29,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 215 bhp
Max torque 82 ft-lb
Top speed 190 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 136 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2019: The Ducati Panigale V4 R is launched. It's a homologation special, but not a limited run it features a short stroke, race-derived 998cc V4 motor, frame cut-outs for less weight and more flex, revised track-focussed electronics, mechanically adjustable Ohlins, a more aerodynamic fairing with extra cooling louvers and MotoGP style wings.
  • 2023: Second generation Panigale V4 R gets a handful of engine tweaks for racing and all the same upgrades from the 2022 Panigale V4 and V4 S, including new bodywork, gas forks, new mapping and electronic rider aids.
  • 2023: Automatic high beam added. Restyled headlamp and nose.

Other versions

  • Panigale V4: Same basic chassis, electronics, but uses a 213bhp 1103cc V4 engine.
  • Panigale V4 S: As V4 with lightweight forged aluminium wheels and electronic semi-active Ohlins.
  • Panigale V4 SP2: As V4 S with carbon fibre wheels, wings and mudguard, Stylema R calipers, dry clutch, 520 pitch chain, winter testing paintjob and exposed ali fuel tank

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI PANIGALE V4R (2019 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their DUCATI PANIGALE V4R (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI PANIGALE V4R (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
4 out of 5
13 October 2023 by Oneonlyxram

Year: 2023

Best feature is that motor, the smooth, and effortless power delivery. Worst is the heat from the exhaust as it sears your calf.... my YouTube channel talks about the top and bottom 5 aspects of my v4r yt: oneonlyxram

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Incredible brake feel, especially on track.

Engine 5 out of 5

Smooth, powerful, nearly linear power delivery

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Stunning on track
17 July 2021 by Matt Jones

Year: 2019

Expensive bit of kit but well worth it !

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Amazing on track I can’t pick fault with any part of it . It’s an absolute pig on the road and completely pointless !!

Engine 5 out of 5

Amazing 🤩

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I purchased one of the first in 2019 and I’ve only ever covered 150 miles on the road to run it in a little, it wasn’t used for 12 months and I’ve done 800 miles on Trackdays with it but it seems to be holding up pretty well . The obvious bolts dropping out everywhere but that’s just what you get with any Ducati !!

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

The first service was ridiculous for an oil change !! £300 because it apparently needed a software update !! I would have thought this would have been done under warranty!! I change the oil every other trackday and it cost me about £70 . It’s due it’s annual service now !!!

Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Purchased from Ducati Romford as I couldn’t get one locally for love nor money . They were spot on to be fair . Had a tiny issue of a strap rubbing the tank cover when it was delivered but they addressed it straight away . I would happily use them again !!

5 out of 5 2020 Ducati V4R Review
06 May 2021 by Pottsy

Year: 2020

Proper focused Superbike for fast weekend B-roads, track days or racing but refined enough to pop to the shops on it. Mind blowing after 13k revs.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Awesome performance and handling. Focused for fast riders.

Engine 5 out of 5

Crazy performance.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Tank paint work wasn’t perfect. Keep them dry as corrosion is quick after a wet ride out.

Value vs rivals 2 out of 5

The service intervals are very good compared to the older ‘R’s but it’s still an R and the clutch alone is an expensive (frequent) service cost. Worth it for the sound of a dry clutch though in my opinion.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Very high spec. All the electric toys and nice dash. Awesome tires. Just don’t tour on it.

Buying experience: Dealer. Newport Beach. California. Second bike from them. Awesome buying experience.

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