Launch: Ducati Panigale R

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Ducati’s £28,995 Panigale R is being launched today at Imola, just 48 hours after the World Superbike circus has left the demanding and historic race track. Senior MCN road tester Adam ‘Chad’ Child is one of a very select few to be invited on the launch of this incredible piece of exotica.

“We’ve been given the opportunity to ride Ducati’s all new Panigale R around the historic and beautiful Imola race track. The new R is essentially a road-legal race bike, a homologation special enabling Ducati to compete in World Superbike at the highest level. This means that while the base model Panigale and Panigale S have become 1299s, the R retains the old 1198 capacity to conform to WSB regulations. The smaller capacity doesn’t mean less power, in fact Ducati are quoting an astonishing 205bhp from the water-cooled, L-Twin. What’s more incredible is the weight; a staggering 162kg dry, making it the lightest bikes in its class by far,” says Adam.

Controlling all that power and lightweight chassis is conventional Öhlins race suspension, not the electronic items you find on the 1299 Panigale S. Up front there’s a fully adjustable inverted 43mm TIX30 Öhlins fork, while the a TTX36 unit takes care of the rear. On top of the conventional race suspension is a huge list of rider aids, EBD, (Engine Brake Control), DQS (Ducati Quick-Shift), DWC (Ducati Wheelie Control), DTC (Ducati Traction Control) with IMU (Internal Measurement Unit) and cornering ABS.  The IMU works to measure acceleration in relation to three axes and calculates the roll and the pitch of the bike. It also works in conjunction with the Bosch 9.1MP control system and is the main brain of the new Panigale R.

Everything has been designed for the track, it’s as light and race focused as possible, even the battery is a lightweight Lithium item to save precious weight.

“I’m about to go out on track now, so check back later today for my first impressions of this visceral track bike,” says Adam from Imola pitlane.

Read the full report in MCN on May 20. 

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Adam Child

By Adam Child

Former MCN Road Tester with 15 years road testing experience on all kinds of bikes