Italian firm set to run naked V4 Panigale-based prototype at Colorado hillclimb
It’s not been a very well-kept secret – and now some more info has leaked out about Ducati’s plans for the Pikes Peak event this year. A few months ago, we learned that there’s been a ‘prototype’ entry into the ‘Exhibition’ race from Ducati, so we knew something was afoot. The firm normally turns up with racer Carlin Dunne and a few Multistradas and cleans up – but this was something different from the production entries.
And now our chums at US website Asphalt and Rubber have posted pictures of the Ducati US Pikes Peak guys testing some naked Panigale V4s at the Chuckwalla race track in southern California. The pic isn’t super-clear, but does show some Panigale-like machines, with flat bars. The rules at Pikes Peak mean superbikes with clip-ons are banned, so any bike that runs up there has to have a sit-up riding style and wide bars.
What’s not clear is whether this is just a one-off ‘naked Panigale’, or if it’s a sign that Ducati’s looking to develop a new Streetfighter. The old Streetfighter used the big twin engine, and was a beast, but Ducati’s ‘only’ had the Monster 1200 range as its hyper-naked entry in recent years. That is an excellent bike – and pretty nutty – but there’s certainly scope for an even madder hyper-naked Ducati to take on the likes of Aprilia’s Tuono 1100 and the BMW S1000 R. On a more prosaic note, the Bologna firm has spent a load of cash developing the V4 engine – so it makes sense to use it in a wider range of bikes to get a bigger return on that investment.
We’ll find out more at the end of June when the race kicks off. More on this, as we get it!
Pikes Peak info: https://ppihc.org/fans/