The Racing Ducati squad has pulled the wraps off its 2018 World Superbike challenger, the final Panigale R, alongside riders Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri.

The factory Ducati squad lost out on the 2017 World Superbike titles to Kawasaki but Davies produced a strong late season charge to take the runner-up spot in the riders’ championship behind triple world champion Jonathan Rea.

Davies secured seven wins in total last season, and an additional 11 podiums, while team-mate Melandri notched up his first World Superbike victory since 2014 in race two at Misano on his way to fourth place in the championship.

2018 sees an unchanged line-up for Racing Ducati in a year which will mark the last season with the v-twin Panigale R ahead of the highly-anticipated debut of Ducati’s Panigale V4 in 2019.

The factory Ducati squad have also been getting to grips with the new World Superbike technical regulations including the maximum rev limiter which is thought to have hit the Italian team hardest out of all manufacturers.

Ducati technical chief Gigi Dall’Igna has hinted at a raft of Panigale R updates which will be debuted at the final pre-season test which will be held at Phillip Island on the 19-20th February ahead of the circuit hosting the 2018 season opener on the 23-25th February. Racing Ducati also unveiled Michael Ruben Rinaldi at its 2018 WSBK launch who will compete for its junior team on a third bike at all the European rounds. Rinaldi secured the 2017 European Superstock 1000 championship last year with the factory-supported Ducati team.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

None of them look very happy in that photo.

The madness of the rev limit is simle, it robbed Yamaha and Ducati, but gifted Honda an increase in performance because their engine didn't rev so high anyway. So basically, they gave Kawasaki a double front row, pole, and race win every race this year, with maybe one or two races where they'll not just leave and never be caught. Suzuki stated that they would have returned with a factory supported effort had the rev cap not been introduced. The rev cap has also hit MV Augusta hard too. Ducati will struggle. So, it's no wonder that the picture shows them all looking grim. Lets face it, Davies deserves a MotoGP ride more than both of the Avintia riders. Rea shouldn't be in WSBK, but MotoGP doesn't get Spanish money by hiring an Irishman!