TESTING IN MUGELLO: Alessandro Valia clocks a lap time of 1min55.3 during testing of Ducati's new Panigale at the Mugello circuit in Italy. Image: Ducati
• Valia clocks 1min54.03 in Mugello test
• ‘New Panigale in class of its own’
• New standard for road superbikes
BOLOGNA, Italy - For Ducati, 2015 has opened with the new Panigale, a superbike the bikemaker says it has characterised with top-level components, performance and iconic design.
Ducati official test rider Alessandro Valia has given some of his first impressions.
'BEST LAP THAT SHOCKED ME'
Valia said: "With the new Panigale I expected an increase in performance but the final result has surpassed those expectations. During my first test of the 1299 Panigale S on the Mugello circuit, in fact, I managed a best lap that shocked me: 1min55.03.
“That’s a really incredible time for a production bike - with lights, turn signals, and mirrors - made possible thanks in part by the powerful thrust from the new 1285cc Superquadro engine with 152kW.”
With a bore of 116mm and stroke of 60.8mm, he added, the engine had a unique a bore/stroke ratio of 1.91. In fact the new twin-cylinder Superquadro was named for this exaggerated bore/stroke ratio.
Torque has been increased to 144.6Nm.
Valia explained: "Also fundamental are the improvements to the bike's frame. The new steering-head angle and other changes to geometry have produced tangible benefits, especially for large-radius curves, making the front end more stable, precise, and effective in finishing turns."
FOR TRACK OR OPEN ROAD
The swing-arm pivot point has been changed to optimise rear-tyre grip and the steering-head angle has been reduced by a half-degree for better handling and more agile cornering.
"Thanks to the new Ohlins Smart EC suspension (see diagram below), which includes a very useful electronic steering damper, the 1299 is able to move seamlessly from maximum track performance to comfortable road use, making even the return trip to Bologna a pleasure despite the bumpy roads which characterize the Giogo and Futa passes.”
Valia said the event-based mode adapted the suspension instantly to various riding events: "For example, under braking, it stiffens the front fork's damping, then softens it as the bike accelerates.”
THE SUSPENSION BITS: The 1299 Panigale S has an exclusive semi-active Öhlins Smart electronically controlled suspension which works with a Bosch inertial platform to dynamically respond to how the bike is ridden.