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Ducati’s ‘R’ treatment for its standard models has been a hugely successful endeavour for the superbike brand. Think AMG’s treatment of stock Mercedes cars – tune the already powerful engine, replace body parts with carbon fibre, take the chassis setup to an all new level of hardcore and of course, embellish with an array of aesthetic treats to help justify the premium price.
In a nutshell that is exactly what Ducati has done to its 1199 Panigale to produce the 1199 Panigale R. The fuel injection system on the 1198cc V-twin engine has been tweaked and the gearing lowered to help improve accessibility to the torque and increase the mid-range output. The enhanced V-twin now revs to an impressive 12,000rpm, 500rpm higher than before thanks to new titanium conrods which were employed to keep the Panigale’s top speed at 185mph despite the adjustments to lower the gearing.
Racers can now customise the handling of the bike to suit specific tracks and conditions by adjusting the new swing-arm pivot. The R model also gets a new Termignoni race exhaust, contributing to the extra power of the R model and giving the R a mightily intimidating tune to match the looks.
With a fuelled-weight of only 189kg the Panigale R is a light bike by any standards and when combined with the race setup, high-revving engine and fantastic chassis it makes a dream bike for any track-day enthusiast. But at £27,000 most people would be considerably better off (£10,000 to be exact) with the standard Panigale that is already a beautiful, desirable bike and could probably be enjoyed just as much with normal day-to-day road driving.