Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna says launching the new Panigale V4 R not only centralises the Italian brand’s operations but also raises its support above its rivals in both MotoGP and World Superbikes.
Ducati retired the V-twin to launch the new V4 R Superbike for 2019 with the new Panigale making its official test debut last month with the Aruba.it Racing Ducati squad.
While the central focus of the new bike is on the new engine philosophy, the bike also sported some MotoGP-derived winglets plus stylings taken from the Ducati GP machines.
Given its overhaul of its World Superbike challenger for 2019, which will be officially homologated early next year to allow Ducati to finalise its specification, Dall’Igna says Ducati’s new bike returns its level of investment to its previous all-conquering status across the 1990s and 2000s.
“Honestly, I think Ducati is the only manufacturer that supports both championships. MotoGP for sure, but also Superbike,” Dall’Igna said in Jerez. “Nobody else was doing it like Ducati in the past.”
Dall’Igna is also certain bringing the World Superbike specification closer to its MotoGP machine will help it develop the bike despite the higher investments required as it allows better flexibility for his engineers to work between both championships.
“This bike is completely new and we have to put some more effort because when the bike is new you have to follow the evolution at the beginning,” he said.
“It costs more than in the normal evolution when the bike is ready. So this why we go in this direction. A lot of people work for both the championships.
“I think we have this pressure with every project that we do. It is not a real problem because Ducati has to win. Honestly, the pressure that everybody has put on me is nothing in comparison with the pressure that I put on myself. It is not a problem.
“At the moment we do not have a lot of bikes. The production has not started as it takes time to produce the parts.
“We do not have any freedom to change the bike now because the production has to start in January and so everything is more or less defined. Some small changes but nothing in particular, nothing big.”
Ducati’s last World Superbike title came in 2011 with Carlos Checa on the Althea Racing Ducati 1098R, with the V-twin Panigale R gaining the unwanted record of the only Ducati bike to fail to record world championship.
The Italian brand remains on top of the all-time World Superbike title wins list on 17 with Honda, Aprilia and Kawasaki all locked in joint-second with four championship triumphs each.