Ducati test rider Michele Pirro says riding the prototype Panigale V4 for the first time was similar to the GP15 MotoGP machine, but won’t get to grips with the full race-specification bike until November.

Pirro was joined by Ducati CEO Claudio Demonicali, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo at the presentation of the new V4 engine, Desmosedici Stradale V4, at Misano having taken a key role as track test rider for the power unit derived from the team’s MotoGP experience.

While the road version will be a 1100cc, 210bhp V4 and the R model – expected to be homologated for racing in 2019 – will be slimmed to 1000cc to meet engine regulations in World Superbikes but is forecast to produce 14,000rpm.

Related Articles

With engine expertise taken from MotoGP, using a counter-rotating crankshaft with a V4 90-degree configuration, Pirro has compared the road version of the new Ducati engine to the GP15 MotoGP.

“For the first time when I tested the bike there was a great feeling and great emotion,” Pirro said. “It was the same as the first time I tested the GP15. The feeling, the sound and the characteristic is very similar to the MotoGP engine and different to the old Panigale. The potential of the bike is very high.

“The MotoGP bike is a very extreme bike. If you don’t push at the limit it is immediately difficult to take the temperature of the brake and the tyres. You can never relax riding the MotoGP bike. You must immediately push at the maximum.

“With the Superbike this problem is out and it is possible to make a lap-by-lap improvement, with MotoGP you can never relax and every time you must push.”

Pirro says the key difference between the GP and new Superbike is might be top speed, due to the smaller maximum revs, but having purely tested the engine without a racing chassis or tyres it is not easy to pinpoint the main differences.

“It is not a big difference but the top speed,” Pirro said. “The big difference will be the chassis and the tyres. I think the tyre adjustment will be down to the situation. With the MotoGP we have Michelin tyres and in World Superbike we have Pirelli tyres so it is different. The lap time is not so different. It is competitive.

Pirro says he’s tested a prototype engine that is ‘90%’ of the finished product at Misano and Mugello and will have another test in November during the Panigale V4’s official launch at EICMA.