All 13 World Ducati Week Race of Champions Panigales sold

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Thirteen Ducati Panigale V4 S motorbikes with customised rider livery have been sold on eBay following World Ducati Week. Twelve of the bikes were used in the 2018 Race of Champions event, the thirteenth was customised for Chaz Davies who had to pull out with an injury.

The bikes were all sold complete with the racing upgrades they were given for the event, plus all the bits you need to make them road legal again. Finally, they were signed by their respective riders, making them each completely unique.

The bike which achieved the highest selling price was the one used by Troy Bayliss which went for an astonishing £107,000. This dwarfed the totals made by Dovizioso, Melandri, Lorenzo, Pirro (who won the race) and Petrucci’s bikes which all sold for between £35,500 and £55,500.

Bayliss is clearly still a very popular Ducati rider having won three World Superbike Championships for the Italian brand. He also won an Australian Superbike race in 2018 at the ripe old age of 49 having come out of retirement. 

The Race of Champions grid at World Ducati Week

What happened in the race?

The race at Misano didn't go the way of Bayliss as Ducati MotoGP test rider and Italian Superbike Champion Michele Pirro embarrassed a star-studded line-up which also included Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo to win Ducati’s first Race of Champions, which was a highlight of World Ducati Week 2018.

Ducati’s MotoGP and WSB riders were pitched against each other on identical V4 Panigales on the same Pirelli tyres with less than 30 minutes practice. With the least to lose if something went wrong, Pirro took advantage of his track knowledge and his tyre familiarity from Italian superbike racing to trounce the opposition.

Scheduled for eight laps, the race was red-flagged after five laps when a rain shower forced the organisers to play it safe. But it wouldn’t have changed the result; Pirro’s best lap on what was essentially a standard road bike with a loud silencer and slicks was just 3.7s slower than the fastest lap by a Panigale at this year’s Misano WSB round.

Ruled out of competing in last month’s Italian MotoGP, after a 200mph practice crash it was a perfect return. “I really wanted this and I really wanted to ride the V4,” said Pirro. “It was a good way to come back after my big crash. I loved the bike and it feels so comfortable compared to my MotoGP racer.”

Avintia Ducati MotoGP rider Tito Rabat did his best to keep in touch but had to settle for second after a poor start. The action included an absorbing scrap between Xavi Fores, Jack Miller and Marco Melandri which kept the Ducati fans entertained.

“It was loads of fun,” said Miller. “There was some good, hard riding out there and I had the thing moving around big-time.”

But the race didn’t go to plan for WSB legend Troy Bayliss. Fourteen years older than any other rider, Bayliss’s form in this year’s Australian Superbike series made him a favourite, but the 49-year old hadn’t raced at Misano for 11 years.

He said: “The motor reminded me of my old MotoGP V4 Ducati. But the race didn’t go to plan. I ran on into the gravel early on and that was the end of that.”

Which rider adapted fastest?

The riders had a brief practice and ten-minute qualifying session to get used to the bikes. It was a bigger ask for the MotoGP racers who had to get used to the feel of a production bike as well as the Pirelli slicks, but the plan was originally for even less practice.

“We were going to just draw lots,” said Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali. “But more than one rider said: “How will I be able to win if I’m drawn in last place?”

So it wasn’t surprising that a man familiar with Pirelli slicks took pole. Pirro stunned with his pace and led the way in qualifying, while Tito Rabat finished second.

Rabat’s pace can be put down to the adaptability gained from a year of swapping between his regular practice bikes at his base in Almeria and his racing machines. Both riders surprised the opposition.

Marco Melandri said “Pirro was two seconds faster a lap. He must be a genius.” Not really, it’s just that his experience has made him more adaptable.

Factory GP stars play it safe

With both factory Ducati MotoGP riders still in contention for the title it’s no surprise that Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo wanted to stay out of trouble, especially as the pint-sized racers struggled to adapt to the dimensions of the road bikes.

“It was a crazy race, but I struggled with the footrests and my feet slipped off them a couple of times” said Dovizioso. Lorenzo never looked like he was trying, carrying less speed into corners. He said: “This is my first, and maybe last, World Ducati weekend. I’m here to enjoy it.”

There was plenty more to see

This was the tenth year of the event held at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Italy between July 20 - 22.

There were two races taking place during the event, with a variety of Ducati riders past and present taking to the dirt on the Friday and then the track on the Saturday.

Competition was fierce in the Ducati Scrambler Flat Track race but 2016 event winner, Andrea Dovizioso, took first place ahead of a field including Troy Bayliss, Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller and Michele Pirro.

There was no shortage of other great riders at the event; Casey Stoner, Carlos Checa, Xavier Simeon, Alvaro Bautista and Lorenzo Zanetti were all in attendance.

The Ducati Scrambler Village also offered visitors the chance to learn how to get sideways on the dirt themselves at the Flat Track School and the Ducati Enduro Academy and Safety Academy were also in attendance offering tuition sessions.

Along with all this, there were areas dedicated to specific Ducati models with technicians in attendance to answer any questions plus a ‘closed room’ offering a look at the 2019 models to be officially unveiled later in the year.

Find your next Ducati model now at MCN Bikes for Sale.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in News…

Matt Wildee

By Matt Wildee

Former MCN Senior Editor