This ultra-limited-edition Ducati Panigale S Anniversario is a high-tech update for the range-topping, 205bhp Italian superbike, to mark 90 years since the company was founded. Ducati promise this bike is the pinnacle of road-going superbike development and it was unveiled by former MotoGP champion and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner, along with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, at last weekend’s World Ducati Week festival.
Ducati Panigale S Anniversario appears to fall between the current 1299 Panigale S and Panigale R in terms of spec, while being spiritually closer to the ultra-expensive Superleggera that was launched in 2014. Ducati say it will also use a new version of the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) dubbed DTC EVO, which will allow riders to drift the bike on the power and use the throttle to steer the bike; all in total control as the electronic control systems will prevent the bike crashing.
The Ducati Panigale S Anniversario is a strictly limited-edition model, with just 500 being built. Each bike will have an etched, numbered top yoke to signify which number of the 500 it is. Most instantly visually striking is the new racing-inspired black, white and red paint job which owes a lot to the factory race bikes in both WSB and MotoGP, and clearly sets the bike apart from the rest of the range. The gold-painted wheels are a traditional touch for Ducati limited-editions over the years, and there’s a gold hue to the special Akrapovic exhausts, too.
A new steering head insert shifts the front wheel forward by 5mm, matching the chassis geometry of the range-topping Panigale R, while a special lightweight lithium battery, carbon-fibre heel guards, hugger, and a different rear shock unit all contribute to the new model shedding 2.5kg over the S model.
Ducati have worked extremely hard to ensure the electronics on the Panigale S Anniversario are as advanced as possible. And, while this model is being presented as a limited edition at this stage, it’s almost certain some or all of these advances will be rolled out across Ducati’s superbike range in the coming years.
At the heart of the enhancements is the new DTC EVO and new Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO systems, which increase control but at the same time allow the rider to push the limits of what the bike can do in terms of rear wheel slide and wheelies.
In addition to the new DTC and DWC systems are Bosch cornering ABS, the Ducati Quick Shifter (DQS) for clutchless up and downshifts, Engine Brake Control (EBC) and Öhlins Smart EC semi-active suspension. Ducati Panigale S Anniversario also comes with a racing kit consisting of a titanium Akrapovic Racing exhaust, billet aluminium mirror block-off plates, and a cover for the hole created by removing the numberplate holder for track days.
Wait… you can drift it?
It would appear drifting the Ducati Panigale S Anniversario is distinctly possible thanks to its new traction control algorithms, which allow more precise and consistent intervention. At the heart of the system is a Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which senses the bike’s lean angle and other parameters to judge the required intervention to control the spin of the rear wheel. Within each DTC EVO setting this level of spin can be metered out precisely and consistently. At Level One there is enough freedom of slip to allow the rear wheel to spin quite some way beyond what has been previously possible with the DTC turned on.
DTC EVO adds the ability to intervene with the control of the throttle body butterfly valves, in addition to altering spark advance and fuel injection. Under conditions in which high-speed intervention of the DTC EVO system is not needed, closing of the butterfly valves allows the system to manage traction while maintaining optimal combustion parameters, resulting in smoother intervention and engine response.
The Ducati Panigale S Anniversario will be available soon and cost around £24,000.
Ducati Panigale S Anniversario Specifications and Price
Engine : 4-Stroke, Superquadro L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valve per cylinder, Liquid-Cooled
Bore x Stroke : 116 x 60.8 mm
Capacity : 1.285 cc
Compression Ratio : 12.6 : 1
Induction : EFI
Transmission : 6-Speed, Chain Drive
Power : 205 HP @ 10.500 RPM (claimed)
Torque : 144 N.m @ 8.750 RPM (claimed)
Wheelbase : 1.442 mm
Seat Height : 830 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity : 17 Litres
Weight : 164 kg (dry, claimed)
Frame : Monocoque Alumunium Frame
Front Suspension : Öhlins NIX30 43mm Upside Down Fork, Fully Adjustable
Rear Suspension : Ohlins TTX36 Unit, Fully Adjustable
Front Brakes : 2 x 330mm Semi-floating Discs, Brembo Radial Monobloc M50 4-Piston Callipers with Cornering ABS
Rear Brakes : Single 245mm Disc, 2-Piston Caliper with Cornering ABS
Front Tyre : 120/70 – ZR17 (Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP)
Rear Tyre : 200/55 – ZR17 (Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP)
Price : Around £24,000