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Ducati Panigale

Superquadro = Oversquare setup

Instead of using the numbers of traditional Ducati superbikes, they are using the name of the suburb in Bologna where the company has its headquarters. Allegedly, the Panigale is the world's most high performance motorcycle. With certainty, the 1199 Superleggera, derived from the 1199 R, does have the lowest weight to power ratio in this class.

However, let's stay with the normal Panigale, although even the engine can't be said to be normal. Apparently, the almost unique desmodromic valve control wasn't enough for the Ducati engineers. Presumably, for the further development, the valves were now drastically enlarged. After all, one did not have to worry about valve-springs being overloaded.

In the high performance, normally aspired sports car engines (Ferrari), the 100 kW/litres hasn't yet been reached. With this Ducati, we find ourselves now facing almost 118- or even up to 125 kW/litres (Panigale R), a sure sign that these superbikes have more racing technology in them than there is in the hottest sports car. Nevertheless, the valves only have to be adjusted every 24.000 km.

Although the frame is coloured black, it is made of aluminium. There have been super-expensive variations with a higher magnesium content. Although the frame, steering head and the rear suspension are connected with each other, the engine is certainly included in the stability concept. Because it's liquid cooled, the front cylinder, with an angle of 27° to the horizontal, can stand slightly in the way of the rear cylinder. By shifting the engine towards the front, a slightly shorter wheelbase is achieved.

Let's stay with the engine for a while. The pistons run in Nikasil-cylinders clamped between the cylinder heads and the crankcase and are surrounded by the lightweight casing of the water jackets. Elliptically shaped and electrically operated throttle-flaps conduct the air-volume. Here, when necessary, the traction-control can be activated. Depending on the work-load, one injection valve each works either above or below the two throttle-flap housings.

If need be, gear changing without using the clutch is possible. In this case, together with the activation of the gear change, the engine control device gets a signal, from which it can recognise whether an up- or a downshift is going to take place. It changes the work-load variably, but always in a manner that allows gear-changing without using the clutch. 03/15