This is a really amazing time to be a person who loves motorcycles. Bikes are more powerful and significantly faster than ever before, but they’re also substantially safer and easier to ride. One of the best examples of this is Ducati’s utterly ridiculous Panigale V4. Not only does the base model make 210 hp with a dry weight of 386 pounds, but compared to the Panigales of just a few years ago, the new V4 doesn’t stare at you from the corner of your garage with a murderous glare.
Instead, one of the hallmarks of Ducati’s current lineup of V4-powered bikes is just how ridiculously easy and unintimidating they are to ride. Part of this is that the Panigale makes its peak power at a stratospheric 12,500 rpm, but mostly it’s the brilliant suite of electronics that makes the whole bike work. Now, for the 2023 model year, those electronics are getting a few upgrades to make the fastest street-legal Ducati even easier to ride and live with.
The biggest change comes in the form of Ducati’s Engine Brake Control EVO2 software. This allows the rider to select from three engine braking profiles, each of which provides different engine braking characteristics specifically suited to an individual gear in the bike’s six-speed transmission. Rad, right? But wait, there’s more.
Ducati also updated its quick-shifter algorithms to make shifts faster and smoother. Considering the fact that Ducati’s quick-shifter was already one of the best in the business, this should make the riding experience even more enjoyable. Previous iterations of the system would briefly cut fuel to unload the gears in the transmission; now, the bike achieves the same effect by retarding the ignition timing, which offers significantly more refined control over the process.
One area in which Panigales have historically suffered is excessive engine heat getting thrown onto the rider. This makes sense, given the bike’s tight packaging, high power output and tightly fitted fairings. To help combat this somewhat, Ducati has revised the programming for the bike’s engine cooling fans to help mitigate heat at normal road speeds and combat heat soak at the end of a long track session.
Finally, the folks from Borgo Panigale revised the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) system and ride-by-wire throttle calibration. The change to the former is meant to let the system make finer adjustments to engine power based on the bike’s lean angle as calculated by the inertial measurement unit (IMU), which means subtler, more transparent traction control intervention. The throttle change promises to make the relationship between throttle input and engine response much more seamless.
The result of all these changes means that the 2023 Panigale V4 will be faster, smoother, safer, cooler and generally nicer to ride, which is awesome. What’s maybe more awesome is that many of these changes are likely to trickle down to other Ducati models like the Streetfighter, which is already one of the best bikes on sale today.
Ducati’s 2023 Panigale V4 should be hitting dealers now-ish.