Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) - Review

Original Technical Review: Ben Purvis -14th October 2022


Price: £38,995 | Power: 215.1hp | Weight: 193.5kg (wet) | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 5/5


Ducati has been making limited-run specials to homologate its WSBK machines for decades now and in the quest for racing success they’re always a step up from their predecessors. We’ve been waiting a while for a revamp of the Panigale V4 R but now it’s here – and with a couple of bolt-on options it’s good for a claimed 240.5hp.

That would have been bona fide MotoGP bike power not many years ago, and while the Panigale V4 R won’t be strictly road legal once tuned to that level, it’s an indication of how easy it is to unlock more horses from the V4’s corral.

Straight out of the showroom the 2023 Panigale V4 R is actually a tiny bit less powerful than the previous version, but that’s a sacrifice due to changes made to meet Euro 5 emissions rules. However, it’s hard to imagine many customers opting to splash out on the homologation machine without also buying the track only Akrapovič exhaust that hikes power to 237hp, a 3hp increase on the previous V4 R in free-breathing trim. The final 3.5hp to reach the 240.5hp of Ducati’s claims comes via the use of a special Shell oil that reduces friction by 10% inside the engine.

Despite this being the latest in a whole line of ‘R’ badged homologation specials, the new Panigale V4 R is the first to be made in a numbered series, identified by a headstock plaque, although Ducati doesn’t say that the numbers will be limited.


Pros & Cons
  • 240.5hp. From a production bike. Need we say more?
  • Ducati homologation machines are sure-fire classics, so while expensive it’s unlikely to depreciate as fast as more mass-made models
  • Still the best-looking superbike on the market, even if the styling updates are minimal
  • World Superbike dominance that anyone with the funds can own and ride
  • It’s not all about the engine: handling and ease of use have been improved too
  • Improved electronics make this the most advanced ‘R’ version by far
  • If you’re only going to ride on the road, the much cheaper Panigale V4 and V4 S offer nearly as much performance as the V4 R and have more torque thanks to larger-capacity engines.
  • You’re going to have to buy the £6,156 Akrapovič exhaust to unleash all that power
  • Akrapovič exhaust is too loud for most UK track days
  • Friends will be envious and stop talking to you
  • Manually adjustable suspension means you need a little more understanding on bike set-up


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
Power & Torque
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy


Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Price

How much is the 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R? £38,995

While £39k is a huge chunk of change to drop on any bike, if you apply some man-maths the latest crop of WSBK homologation specials are arguably the best bargains in their manufacturers’ ranges. With race organisers implementing an upper ceiling on the list of prices of bikes approved to compete in the series, manufacturers want to give their race bikes the best possible chance of success but can’t charge through the nose for them. Just last month Ducati launched the Streetfighter V4 Lamborghini at £55,995 and sold 630 of them immediately. The Panigale V4 R is a much more exotically equipped machine, and without the price cap would probably cost much more than that Lambo special, so in that respect it’s a steal for under £40k.

In terms of colours, the race-rep red is the only option, and for most customers the £38,995 is only the starting point. After all, you want that titanium race exhaust, don’t you? That’ll be another £6,156, please. Other price add-ons include magnesium wheels at £4,579, or how about adjustable foot pegs for £1,078? Just having the brake calipers in red instead of silver costs £763.78, so you can see how Ducati is clawing back the profit margins that are sacrificed to meet the homologation price cap on the bike itself. A quick dabble on Ducati’s online configurator will quickly push the total price past the £53,000 mark once the good wheels, the exhaust and some choice carbon components are added to the basic spec. Spec all the options and you can get the total beyond £58,000.

Ducati’s closest rival is their own Panigale V4 SP2, using the larger 1103cc V4, which obviously isn’t homologated for racing. The SP2 comes in at £34,495.


Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Power and torque

The headline figure of 240.5hp (that last 0.5 makes all the difference) is actually rated using the slightly weaker European ‘PS’ horses instead of the burly metric ones we normally measure in over here, although the difference is small enough not to be noticed. Using proper bhp, the bike’s fully tuned power output is 237.4bhp including the race exhaust and special oil.

Straight out of the door, in road-legal trim, the bike makes 218 metric horsepower, or 160.4kW, which equates to 215.1bhp. Not to be sniffed at, but pretty much the same as rivals like Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, only about 2kW more than a base Panigale V4 and around 2kW less than the previous generation of Panigale V4 R made in stock form. That peak arrives at a heady 15,500rpm, 250rpm higher than the old V4 R, and the engine will rev out to 16,500rpm in top gear.

Max torque of 112Nm (82.6lbft) comes at 12,000rpm, giving a clue as to how much the Ducati’s 998cc V4 thrives on revs. Of course, the stock Panigale V4, with a larger 1103cc engine, has more torque – 91.2lbft – and peaks thousands of revs lower, making it a more flexible offering for daily use.

With that stunning-looking full titanium Akrapovič race system fitted it’s very loud. Yes, it changes the attitude, style and aggression of the bike, but I doubt most noise-restricted track days will allow you on track with this system. You’ll have to seek out unrestricted track days.



Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Engine, gearbox, and exhaust

The V4 R’s 998cc engine – the Desmosedici Stradale R – is quite a different unit to the 1103cc Desmosedici Stradale used in lower-spec Panigales, and it’s packed with race-oriented tech.

The basic layout is the same, with a 90-degree V angle, 81mm bore and reverse-rotating crank, but the R has a shorter 48.4mm stroke instead of 53.5mm to bring the capacity down to 998cc. Changes to the 2023 engine include ‘gun drilled’ titanium conrods, with a longitudinal hole bored though them (a first on a road bike), plus pistons that are 5 grammes lighter than before, more aggressive intake cam profiles and shorter, variable length intake trumpets.

The motor is bolted to a transmission shared with the stock Panigale, getting the same updates that were applied to the base bike in 2022, including a longer first and second gear ratio and a shorter sixth to make for a closer-ratio transmission overall.

The exhaust of the 2023 Panigale V4 R is a little more restrictive than the previous version, thanks to Euro 5 emissions rules, but of course there’s that full titanium Akrapovič race system that can be added to unleash the engine’s full potential. That system also changes the bike’s look, with dual under-seat silencers instead of the standard belly-mounted one and cuts the bike’s weight by 5kg as well as adding a huge amount of additional power. It also includes a remap for the engine management, maximising performance and changing the mapping of the rider aids to suit the new power output.

Riding out of pitlane, I’m aware I’m on a very special bike. Ducati’s ‘R’ versions have always had an X factor; I remember riding the first Ducati 999 R in Mugello and thinking that production bikes simply could not be any better, stronger, faster... and even some BSB and World Superbike machinery won’t make the power of this race kitted V4 R!

I’m familiar with the Misano track, the venue for the V4 R test, and with the bike's pre-heated Pirelli slicks working from the off, I love the feeling of the bike from lap one. The clutch-less gear changes are incredibly fast and accurate, and comparable to a factory race bike. Downshifting is effortless too, the revs precisely and perfectly matching each gear change.

The 998cc Desmosedici Stradale R is an engineering masterpiece. When you ride the larger, torquier 1103cc V4 Ducati Panigale in whatever variant, which I have on many occasions, including here at Misano, it's easy to forget to rev the V4, and just lean on its mountain of midrange oomph. On the shorter-stroke, higher-revving V4 R, it’s essential to use all of the tacho ­– to ride it like the race bike it essentially is.

During the first track session I thought I was riding reasonably hard by changing gear at around 13,000rpm, where a 'normal' superbike like a R1 makes its peak power. But peak on the R is up at 15,500rpm, and it will rev on to 16,500rpm. Convincing my mechanical sensibilities that it was okay to wait, to nudge the quickshifter at the shift lights just before 16,000rpm felt brutally wrong. But while you can short-shift at 12,000rpm – the top of the torque curve – and set a decent lap time in the process, if you want to push for the lap time this bike deserves you need to be prepared to be cruel. Thrash it to 15,500rpm – and then a little more – every time.

In fact, this road going V4 R, complete with normal service intervals, actually revs higher than the World Superbike Ducati that is dominating the current series. For 2023 the Aruba.it Racing team has been forced by the regulations to lower its V4's rpm ceiling from standard, whereas the competition have an extra 1000rpm to play with. This means the road legal V4 R revs higher than the WSBK bike!

Once you’re dialled into the mind-set of using all the revs, sometimes shifting down to second rather than third gear, and allow yourself to treat this £40,000 masterpiece like a win-it-or-bin-it race bike, makes it incredibly rewarding to ride.

Obviously, it’s fast. Without a raft of fiendish electronic rider aids it would be near-impossible to control as it wheelied and wheel-spun its way around the track. On the back straight, with second, third and fourth gear held to the rev-limiter limiter, it's mind-blowingly rapid. First gear is now longer than the previous V4 R, which makes it more useable in slower corners and gives even more rapid acceleration. And don’t worry, the fuelling is as close to perfect as you’ll ever experience, even in first gear.

Like the updated 2022 Panigale, the new V4 R receives refreshed rider aids, recalibrated to match the R's performance and lightweight handling. Full, High, Medium and Low engine strategies with Full limiting torque ever so slightly in first gear and High and Medium limiting torque in the first three gears. Then the ‘Track Evo’ function changes the dash display to give lap times, a clear horizontal digital rev counter, a prominent gear position indicator and a readout of live rider aid interventions.

You can endlessly trim and personalise the V4 R to the conditions and how you ride. Whenever I sensed, say, the anti-wheelie control working around the Misano circuit I could quickly double-check on the dash to be sure and then make the appropriate adjustment (on track or, more sensibly, back in the pits) to see if it improved my lap time. When it rained, I easily added more rider aids and then gradually reduced their levels of intervention as the track dried. You certainly don't have to be an electronics wizard to make the V4 R suit your style.



Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Handling, suspension, and weight

Changes to the Panigale V4 R’s chassis for 2023 are pretty minor but given the high starting point that’s understandable.

Ducati has opted for revised Öhlins NPX25/30 forks, now with 5mm more travel than before, and a slightly longer TTX36 rear shock with a softer spring. As before, the swingarm pivot position is adjustable, with four possible points each 2mm apart. In the standard ‘+1’ position, the rear ride height of the 2023 bike is 20mm higher than before, making it quicker steering than the previous version.

The longer-travel fork and softer rear shock make for more weight transfer, improving grip and feel in corner entry, and on the way out the fork can extend further before the front wheel leaves the ground.

In standard form, the V4 R weighs in at 193.5kg wet, including a tank of fuel, or 172kg without fluids. With the Akrapovič pipe, the figures drop to 188.5kg and 167kg respectively. Optional magnesium wheels can cut another 0.7kg from the weight if money is no object.

If the screaming 998cc V4 Italian motor is pure race hardware, then it could be argued the chassis is even more so. On the V4 S and V4 SP2 changing the riding modes automatically changes the characteristics of the semi-active suspension but the V4 R has conventional Öhlins suspension. Why? Simple, it’s because electronic suspension isn’t allowed in WSBK, and the V4 R is a homologation special on which the dominant race-winning bike is based.

Ducati has performed a similar trick with the V4 R as it has with the larger capacity Panigale by giving it more suspension travel and a softer spring on the rear, which in theory makes the bike easier to ride as it gives more feel and movement.

In fact, the combination of a high-revving, counter-rotating crank, state-of-the-art rider aids and lightweight chassis delivers a fast but supremely easy-to-ride superbike. Despite the huge numbers it makes, as well as its focus and WSBK pedigree, the V4 R is by no means intimidating, even at a very fast track like Misano.

We encountered some tricky conditions on a drying track, and with one narrow dry line on race slicks, you need to be accurate and precise. Thankfully the V4 R is the sharpest knife in the Ducati toolbox with the grippy areas and apexes hit perfectly kissed every time. You feel you can really push the track limits as you know how the V4 R will react, and all the while those sublime rider aids are working overtime in the background should you make a mistake.

The standard and far cheaper V4 S is arguably easier to set up than the V4 R as each selected riding mode automatically selects a strategy for the semi-active suspension. However, the V4 R's Öhlins units are easily accessible, and each small tweak can be immediately felt. Certainly, the V4 S Panigale is easier to ride on track for 2023 than its predecessor and the same is true of the 2023 V4 R too.  


2023 Ducati Panigale V4R Review Price Spec_12


Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Comfort and economy

If comfort’s your goal, this probably isn’t the bike for you, although Ducati is offering a few optional seat pads to suit different rider preferences. As mentioned earlier, you can also add adjustable aluminium foot pegs (although the four-figure price seems steep for such a bolt-on).

Fuel consumption is pretty abysmal at 8l/100km (35.3mpg) according to official figures, but again it’s not likely to be a major concern to the Panigale V4 R’s customer base. With a large 17-litre tank, finished in bare aluminium, the range is around 130 miles if you achieve the quoted mpg figure.

On track, an engine that lives at 16,000prm doesn’t equate to a frugal motorcycle. You’ll need to fuel up several times on a regular track day.


Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Brakes

Would you expect anything other than top-of-the-range Brembos? Of course not, and that’s what Ducati delivers – Monobloc Stylema M4.30 calipers at the front on 330mm discs, with a 245mm rotor and 2-pot caliper at the back. As on all Ducatis, cornering ABS is standard, using Bosch electronics.

World-class braking is not solely down to the quality of the stoppers (in this case some of the best money can buy) but also the excellence of the chassis they accompany. On the brakes, the V4 R is predictably implacable while the front tyre oozes with grip and feel.

It is hard to believe how late you can brake. Each lap I was moving my marker forward as the bike's rampant stopping power seemed to grow. With my confidence in the front end bolstered by the brilliant cornering ABS, I found myself hanging on to the lever longer, downshifting rapidly yet smoothly through the super-slick gearbox, those clutch-less shifts keeping the motor spinning just so. The aerodynamic wings contribute, so too the new-shape tank and revised rider position which help you stay in the seat and not slip up the fuel tank, giving your arms an easier time.



Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Rider aids, extra equipment, and accessories

The Panigale V4 R’s electronics suite has always been vast, and the latest version carries on with that tradition.

As standard there’s a six-axis IMU feeding info to computers controlling the cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control EVO 3, Ducati Slide Control, Ducati Wheelie Control EVO, Ducati Power Launch, Ducati Quick Shift up/down EVO 2, and Engine Brake Control EVO 2. There’s also a pitlane limiter and lap timer built into the same revised instruments used on other new Panigales, plus a rain light (when the optional DTC EVO3 Ducati Performance software is loaded), a multimedia system, and a GPS-based datalogger.

Options include the pricy ones mentioned above, including the Akrapovič pipe and magnesium wheels (although the standard forged alloy Marchesinis aren’t to be sniffed at), as well as a host of carbon parts and race-oriented kit including race fairings, paddock stands and tyre warmers.

What Ducati learns in MotoGP and WSBK usually trickles down to the end user, and the latest V4 R is a prime example. There are countless parameters and options, which are accessible and easy to change. Track mode allows you to see which rider aids you’re using, giving you an indication of what to trim. In many ways the V4 R is like an expensive arcade game, allowing you to focus on your line and riding with the rider aids working unnoticed in the background getting the most out of you and the conditions.



Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Rivals

Inevitably, BMW’s new M1000RR – launched just days before the new Panigale V4 R and a direct rival both in the showroom and on the track – provides the clearest opposition to the new Ducati. The new M-bike takes perhaps the most radical approach to the idea of a homologation special since the days of the Honda SP2 and Yamaha R7, standing alone from the more mainstream S1000RR much more than the ‘SP’ and ‘RR’ versions of mass-made superbikes that most of the opposition opt for.

The Panigale V4 R, however, has always been a vastly different proposition to the base model, with its GP-alike 998cc engine rather than the gruntier, lower-revving 1103cc V4 used in other versions of the Panigale. Italian flair or Teutonic efficiency?







Seat Height


BMW M 1000 RR


inline four

209hp (156kW)

@ 14,500rpm

83.3ftlb (113Nm)

@ 11,000rpm

192kg (wet)



Honda CBR1000RR-R SP


inline four

215hp (160kW)


83.3ftlb (113Nm)

@ 12,500rpm

201.3kg (wet)



Kawasaki ZX-10RR


inline four

201hp (150kW)

@ 14,000rpm

(211hp (157.5kW) with ram air)

82.5ftlb (111.8Nm)

@ 11,700rpm

207kg (wet)



Yamaha R1M


inline four

197hp (147.1kW)

@ 13,500rpm

83.6ftlb (113.3Nm)

@ 11,500rpm

202kg (wet)





Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) Verdict

How can you not fall for Ducati’s V4 R? Does it get any better than riding around Misano on a near £40,000 homologation special, the road version of the bike which is domination World Superbikes? R-models from Ducati has always been historically special, and the latest V4 R carries on that tradition.

The screaming 998cc V4 is the closest you’ll get to a race engine for the road. It loves revs and makes crazy power. Incredibly, it’s far easier to ride than many less powerful bikes and forgives rider errors almost to the point of embarrassment. This is mainly down to the excellent electronics and changes to the chassis which make the Panigale more accessible to all levels of track rider than ever before.

On top of its track performance is the V4 R's exclusivity, the world championship winning brand and, of course, those looks. Could it be perhaps the most desirable sportsbike on the planet? Until the next. Add the race exhaust and it’s perhaps the best sounding too.

We didn’t’ have any competition to hand at this test, so I can’t categorically say this is the fastest production bike on track at the moment. But my gut feeling is that, with the race kit fitted, only BMW M 1000 RR could run it close.

For the road, the V4 S or V4 SP2 might be better as they pack more torque and semi-active suspension which is easier to adjust. However, we can say that the homologated V4 R is phenomenal motorcycle and a road-legal manifestation of Ducati Corse's domination of MotoGP and WSBK. It goes, stops and handles even better than it looks, and carries on Ducati's tradition of producing market leading superbikes.


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Ducati Panigale V4 R (2023) - Technical Specification

New price




Bore x Stroke

81 x 48.4mm

Engine layout

90 degree V4, 16v, liquid cooled

Engine details

DOHC, desmodromic valve gear


160.4kW/ 215.1bhp @ 15,500rpm


111.3Nm / 82.6ft lbs @ 12,000rpm


6 speed, Ducati QuickShift up/down EVO 2

Average fuel consumption

Claimed: 35.3 mpg / 8 l/100km

Tank size

17 litres

Max range to empty

Claimed: 132 miles

Rider aids

Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 3, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO 2, Auto tyre calibration, Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2


Aluminium alloy "Front Frame" with optimized stiffness

Front suspension

Fully adjustable 43 mm Öhlins NPX 25/30 pressurized fork with TiN treatment

Rear suspension

Fully adjustable Ohlins TTX 36 with hydraulic spring preload adjuster. Aluminium single-sided swingarm. Adjustable pivot position +/- 3 mm

Front brake

2 x 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema M4.30. 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO. Self bleeding master cylinder.

Rear brake

245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO

Front wheel / tyre

3-spokes forged aluminium alloy, 120/70 ZR17

Rear wheel / tyre

3-spokes forged aluminium alloy, 200/60 ZR17



Seat height



193.5kg (wet)

MCIA Secured rating



24 months, unlimited mileage


7,500 miles, 12 months




2023 Ducati Panigale V4R Review Price Spec_23


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.