If you’re a track riding fiend, and you really absolutely have to have the newest and fastest kit on the block, this bike is for you. Ducati has a newer, better, faster Panigale, and it’s about as close to a Ducati Corse race bike as you can get without being a factory rider (or a Gresini, Moody, or Pramac rider). Okay, it doesn’t have carbon bonded frame like the limited Superleggera, but it has all the trickery and race-ready everything to make up for it. Ducati says it has improved the SP2 in every way; aerodynamically and ergonomically, as well as improvements to the engine, chassis, and electronics.
The new king of the Panigale heap is the V4 SP2 you see here. SP stands for Sport Production in case you needed a hint. Ducati is quick to point out that the 1103cc Desmosedici Stradale engine in the V4 SP2 is derived directly from the team’s MotoGP efforts. The race-derived engine management delivers even faster engine response than before, and a blistering 228 horsepower and 96.6 lb-ft of torque when equipped with the optional titanium Akrapovic exhaust. To give riders the full potential of the engine, a special torque-by-gear system and four different power modes are available for you to choose from.
So if the engine is from MotoGP, where is the rest of it from? Ducati says the advanced Brembo braking system, lightweight carbon wheels, the final drive, and the dry clutch components come directly from its WorldSBK efforts. It also comes with racing footpegs and a slew of carbon bits. When the bike is delivered it comes standard with a track kit, including billet caps to blank off the rear view mirrors, a kit for removing the license plate holder, and an open carbon clutch cover.
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The SP2 chassis makes use of an aluminum front frame which itself holds the Desmosedici Stradale engine as a stressed member. The swingarm and seatpost are bolted directly to the engine case. Not only does this contribute to a narrower chassis that is stiffer, but a lighter one as well. Here’s an interesting bit from Ducati: “The pivot of the swingarm is positioned in such a way as to increase the anti-squat effect, which is the reduction of the sinking of the rear when exiting corners and when reopening the throttle, thus stabilizing the bike in acceleration.” Neat!
The suspension is a special new Öhlins system with the second generation of Smart EC 2.0. Apparently this new system includes an “objective based tuning interface) which works not by clicks, but “by objectives”. Ducati doesn’t clarify what that means, but it sounds fun. There’s a pressurized cartridge damper racing fork at the front, and a new TTX36 rear shock.
Ducati is calling this bike “the ultimate racetrack machine” which is ideal for a non-professional rider to experience track days and fight against oneself setting personal best laps on the weekend. If that sounds like you, and you’ve got a spare $39,500 in your pocket, get your ass down to the Ducati dealer and pick one up.