Monterey, California - This is the new 1299 Panigale R Final Edition, more than just a bike with a dedicated colour scheme or a limited edition.
Unveiled at Round 8 of the World Superbike series at Laguna Seca, it's a tribute to the iconic L-twin engine, originally designed by Fabio Taglioni in the late 1960s, that has made Ducati history since 1972 and written the World Superbike Championship record books since 1988, which Ducati says has reached its peak with this exclusive edition.
Which, of course, begs the question "What comes next?" but that's another story.
Each 1299 Panigale R Final Edition is individually numbered; derived from the 1299 Superleggera engine, the Final Edition Superquadro is rated for 155kW at 11 000 revs and 142Nm at 9000rpm. It has a lightened crankshaft with a larger crankpin and tungsten balancing pads, while the con-rods, like the intake and exhaust valves, are made of titanium. As on Superbike engines, the two 116mm pistons have just two segments and slide on steel cylinder liners.
The all-titanium Akrapovič exhaust system with high dual silencers is an exact replica of the system on the World Superbike Panigale R race bikes; it's Euro 4 compliant, making the bike street-legal everywhere except, ironically, California.
The ultra-compact monocoque structure, developed by the Ducati competition department, incorporates the airbox and helps keep the weight of the Final Edition down to just 179kg with all fluids but no fuel. The chassis set-up is the same as that on the Panigale R, with Ohlins mechanical suspension and a 24 degree rake.
The electronics package features the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit, modulating ABS cornering, wheelie control, traction control and engine braking control, with default settings linked to the selected riding mode (Race, Sport or Wet) but can be personalised as desired.
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali said during the presentation: "No other motorcycle manufacturer has bound its name so tightly to an engine as Ducati has to its sports twin-cylinder. Today, we're here to celebrate its history, just as we stand on the cusp of a new era in which our desmodromic system will be used on a new generation of V4 engines derived from our experience in MotoGP.
"But that's the future. Today we pay tribute to a twin-cylinder engine that has won 333 races, and taken 17 Constructors' and 14 Rider's titles, from Marco Lucchinelli's first victory on 3rd April 1988 with the 851 at Donington Park, in the first year of the World Superbike series, to the 2017 wins by Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri on the Panigale R."