Winning “Most Beautiful Bike” at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 is a major change of direction for the Borgo Panigale firm. After reaching a technological impasse with the development of its V-twin, performance has dictated that Ducati will proceed with the Desmosedici Stradale V-four, moving forward.

As a production machine, the Panigale V4 follows the lines of the previous generation Panigale 1299 closely, save for the headlights now installed inside the large fairing air intakes. While some have remarked the intakes seem abnormally large, it should be borne in mind the addition of two pistons makes the V-engine swallow more air.

This increase in volumetric efficiency means the Desmosedici Stradale powered Panigale V4 puts out a claimed “in excess of” 210 hp at 13,000 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 8,750 rpm. These power figures come from the 1,103 cc power plant, which has a hybrid chain/gear drive for cam timing, and Ducati says an ‘R’ version – displacing below 1,000 ccc – is under development will be available in 2019 for racing and track use after homologation.

As befits Ducati’s premier performance superbike, equipment fit-out is by Brembo and Ohlins for braking and suspension, respectively. Suspension damping on the Panigale V4 is semi-active, and pre-sets are used to determine response and actuation, with a customisable user made also available.

Inside the cockpit, a TFT LCD screen displays everything the rider needs to know, and selector switches on the left and right handlebar pods allow the rider to select and customise ride modes, traction control and suspension settings. We have it on good knowledge that the 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 will be in Malaysia by the middle of next year, but final pricing has yet to be confirmed.