FIRST LOOK: 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, RM101,900

With the launch of the 2022 Streetfighter V2 in Malaysia, priced at RM101,900, was invited to Italy to sample Borgo Panigale’s latest street bike. An extension of its V-twin range, accompanying the Panigale V2 and the Multirstrada V2, the Streetfighter carries a hallowed reputation, following the Streetfighter 848 (previously priced in Malaysia at RM99,333 in 2012).

The formula for the Streetfighter V2 is simple, take the fully-faired Panigale V2 sportsbike, rip off the fairing and slap handlebars on it. But Ducati being Ducati, nothing is ever quite so simple, and lots of thought has gone into the Streetfighter V2, following the very successful template set by the Streetfighter V4.

So, what’s the Streetfighter V2 like to ride? The assembled Malaysian media were given the opportunity to take the Streetfighter V2 around the hills in Borgo Panigale, in Loiano, Italy, on the very same roads Ducati test riders use to develop the motorcycles you and I can buy.

FIRST LOOK: 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, RM101,900

A mix of country roads, very reminiscent of Ulu Yam, Sungai Koyan and Kuala Klawang, this provides insight into why Ducati motorcycles are famed for their handling, and why Ducatis usually perform so well in the hands of Malaysian sports riders. However, we were only given a few hours with the Streetfighter V2, so take this as a short ride impression, rather than a full review.

We do have plans to perform an in-depth review of the Streetfighter V2, along with its competition in Malaysia, the Triumph Street Triple 765RS, the KTM 790/890 and the Suzuki GSX-S750. In the meantime, here’s what we think of the Ducati Streetfighter V2.

FIRST LOOK: 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, RM101,900

As a naked sportsbike, the Streetfighter V2 ticks all the boxes, along with the Superquadro V-twin displacing 955 cc which it shares with the Panigale V2 sportsbike. The Streetfighter V2 gets 153 hp at 10,750 rpm with a peak torque of 101.9 Nm at 9,000 rpm, a little down from the 155 hp and 104 Nm from the numbers of the Panigale V2.

This is done on purpose, as the Streetfighter V2 is tuned for more punch in the mid-range, as it is intended for anti-social and rather exciting behaviour on the street. The proof is in the dyne curve, with the Streetfighter V2 getting a little over 82 hp at 7,000 rpm while the Panigale V2 delivers about 75 hp at the same engine speed.

So, different horses for different courses, and where the Streetfighter shines is in the mid-range, at about 6,000 rpm where most street riders spend their time. At this engine speed, the power delivery from the V-twin is immediate, and when we mean immediate, we first tired it in “Road” mode.

Ho-hum, nice linear power delivery, smooth as through the rev range, no real surprises. Then you switch the engine to “Sport” mode twist the throttle open a little more and the engine wakes and rockets you to the horizon. OK, fine, it doesn’t do this at the warp speed level of the Streetfighter V4, but it does make you aware there is enough punch in the engine to lift the front wheel in fourth, should you so desire.

The six-speed, quickshifter equipped gearbox requires you to tap dance very quickly through the gears, with the shifter itself being precise and positive with no slop, something it shares in common with the track oriented Panigale V2. With the addition of the single-sided swingarm, a Ducati design signature since the 916 superbike, it can be said without reservation the Streetfighter V2 carries all the DNA of the Bologna motorcycle maker’s vaunted engineering and handling capability.

However, this does not make the Streetfighter V2 the perfect motorcycle. At lower speeds, the suspension, in this case with a fully-adjustable 43 mm diameter front fork, was found to be rather harsh at low speeds.

FIRST LOOK: 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, RM101,900

Zip things up to about 120 km/h and it all smoothens out on the curves we encountered in Loiano. Drop the speed down because you get stuck behind traffic and every bump and rut in the road becomes apparent. Not a deal breaker, especially for a bike as performance focused as this, but something to be aware of if you are accustomed to the soft, springy ride typically found in motorcycles sold at lower price points.

A full suite of electronics comes with the Streetfighter V2, including all the goodies found in the bigger Streetfighter V4 including cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control and engine braking. There are also three ride modes – Sport, Road and Rain – and we managed to try the first two.

In Road mode, as mentioned earlier, power delivery is linear, and the rider feels a direct co-relation between the ride-by-wire throttle opening and the engine. In Sport mode, things are much more immediate, and throttle response becomes very sharp. Not enough to make it suitable for track work but enough so that rocketing out of the corners on the street becomes tremendously entertaining.

FIRST LOOK: 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, RM101,900

If this is much too much for you, herein lies the rub. When we reviewed the 2022 Ducati Monster, we might have mumbled something about, “this is not a Monster.” And indeed, in conversation with Ducati staff during the ride back to Borgo Panigale, it was re-emphasised the Ducati Monster has now taken the role of the “entry-level street bike” for Ducati with Marco Biondi, Ducati’s head of Asia-Pacific operations, smacking us figuratively on the head, saying, “we did not make the Monster for riders like you.”

For the old-timers like the author, that mantle has now been taken on by the Streetfighter V2, sharp handling, edgy power delivery and all. Make no mistake, this is not the bike for a beginner, electronic riding aids not withstanding, as we found ut during a take off from a sandy road surface and the rear wheel stepped out very smartly to the right.

That the traction control light didn’t come on because the Streetfighter V2 we were riding was in Sport mode was absolutely no cause for concern because if you can’t react fast enough to keep this bike under control during ‘normal’ riding, then you are not the rider this bike is intended for. There is an immediacy in the Streetfighter V2 that we remember from the Bologna bikes of the 90s, the 916 series, the original Monsters.

FIRST LOOK: 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, RM101,900

And this is what the Streetfighter V2 is, the essence of motorcycling, an engine, two wheels and the famed Ducati handling, distilled into a package serving every purpose a skilled rider, or a rider wanting to elevate his or her riding experience, might want. At this point, we won’t put the Streetfighter V2 up against its Malaysian competition, that will be addressed in an in-depth review where we will look at things like ride comfort and details on the handling and braking (there are technicalities involved in this which Ducati informed us about and we will disclose.)

What we do get in the Streetfighter V2, is what Ducati stands for when it makes a road bike. Precise handling rewarding the rider with skill, knowledge, experience and training.

If you lack any one these, or are just coming into the Ducati lifestyle, go get the Monster, that’s perfect for new or less experienced rider. For the author, the Streetfighter V2 is what Ducati was 30 years ago, when, without apology, the Bologna factory made motorcycles for the rider, not the lifestyle.