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The Ducati 1299 Panigale S does not care about displacement limits, but is only committed to driving dynamics.

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The heat protection of the manifold under the seat now seems to work more effectively, the rear and fairing have been redesigned, forged wheels only have the "S".

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Shift paddles of the Superleggera for engine braking, traction and wheelie control.

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Thicker manifolds and new mufflers make it easier for the 1285 to breathe out.

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Larger air inlets under the LED headlights, the small round one is only used for optics.

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In addition to the spring elements, the steering damper is now also electronically controlled.

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The shock absorber got a new set-up and now works a little more comfortably.

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A good 20 years after the 916, there are now milled, grippier notches ex works for the first time.

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The Ducati 1299 Panigale S has become a very active motorcycle and has increased drivability.

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Ducati 1299 Panigale S in the driving report

Sports cannon through and through

For the first time, Ducati breaks the chains of the relevant racing regulations with its super sports bikes. The Ducati 1299 Panigale S does not care about displacement limits, but is only committed to driving dynamics. Pressure in all positions is the order of the day. Flanked by the latest electronics, including for the chassis.

Ducati is always good for a surprise. After the uncompromisingly extreme Superleggera, the charming, retro-styled Scrambler in particular caused a stir. In their slipstream, a new variant of the sports flagship Panigale matured almost incidentally in the halls in Borgo Panigale. To the surprise of many with a displacement of 1299 cm³. And thus outside of the usual racing regulations. Ducati still has the Panigale 1199 R ready for those who want to fight for honor, points and placements in superbike races. Nevertheless, that too D.ucati 1299 Panigale S Sports cannon through and through.

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Ducati 1299 Panigale S in the driving report
Sports cannon through and through

1299 Panigale S neatly lined up in the pit lane of the Portimão racetrack. At first glance, it doesn’t seem that much different from the 1199. Well, the windshield is 20 millimeters higher, the intake openings in the fairing slightly larger, the rear has been redesigned. So all the hoopla just because of the 100 cm³ drilling? Slowly. The Ducati still has a few surprises in store.

Increase in torque by 15 percent

The already huge bore of the Superquattro-V2 grew from 112 mm to an almost unbelievable 116 mm. Forged pistons as big as saucers, just high enough to accommodate the three piston rings, now race up and down through the cylinders. But the Ducati engineers had less of the resulting 100 cc more and the peak performance, which has grown from 195 to a huge 205, in view – which is of course gladly taken with you. The main focus was on increasing the torque. According to project manager Cristian Gasparri, it has been increased by 15 percent and, above all, the important range from 5 to 8,000 rpm has been strengthened. Exactly the area in which many complained about the Panigale’s lack of pulling power. In addition, the Ducati 1299 Panigale S competes with a refined chassis geometry, based on the experience of the superbike teams. The adjustable swing arm pivot is fixed four millimeters lower, which provides more grip when accelerating. Because this is associated with minor compromises in handling, the fork on the 1299 is now half a degree steeper at 66 degrees in order to inspire turning and maneuverability together with the caster that has been shortened by 4 to 96 mm.

Above all, Ducati has increased the arsenal of electronic helpers properly. In addition to the previously known three driving modes Rain, Sport and Race, the Ducati 1299 Panigale S now also has cornering ABS, an eight-stage wheelie control and an automatic gearshift that also enables downshifting without the clutch. This so-called blipper is also fed information by a sensor on the shift drum. There is also the shift paddle on the left handlebars introduced on the Superleggera to change the engine brake, traction or wheelie control while driving in race mode. The only thing missing is launch control.

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The sensor box and ABS come from Bosch

The S version, which is more noble than the basic version – which was available during the test – is also adorned with light forged wheels and Öhlins spring elements. Previously they could be adjusted electrically, but the Ducati 1299 Panigale S now has a semi-active chassis. However, the Öhlins technicians do not use spring travel sensors to change the damping depending on the wheel movements, as BMW does with the S 1000 RR. Rather, the electronics record acceleration, deceleration, lean angle as well as yaw and roll rates and thus change the damping depending on the driving situation. The sensor box for this, like the ABS, which is one kilo lighter, comes from Bosch.

And of course the chassis of the Ducati 1299 Panigale S can still be electronically adjusted to fixed damping values. Your fingers are itching to try it out on the track. Too bad that light drizzle always turns fast laps into a ride on the razor blade. But alarming is not an option. After all, the first cautious laps reveal that the rain mode may be an option on slippery country roads. On the other hand, on the racetrack with the power reduced to 120 hp and the traction control that intervenes very early on, not really. But the drizzle allows itself a break, whoops, switched to sport mode. Ah, now we’re moving forward.

Ducati 1299 Panigale S hangs fine on the gas

Portimão not only has blind peaks, compressions and terribly fast corners, but also hard braking zones and tight corners, from which you have to accelerate with force. And here the increased torque is immediately noticeable. Great, how the twin pulls out of the corners at medium revs, you catch yourself taking third instead of second gear in some places and saving yourself a shift. The Ducati 1299 Panigale S hangs on the gas, the traction control, if it has to intervene, goes to work gently, and on the hilltops, the wheelie control brings the front wheel back to the ground in good time.

And when the Brembo M50 pliers bite into the 330 mm discs at the end of the sloping home straight, the lift detection keeps the rear wheel firmly on the ground. The newly tuned suspension strut of the Ducati 1299 Panigale S works noticeably more comfortably, which should be particularly pleasing for rural road drivers. However, there is clear movement in the framework during rapid changes of direction and hard braking maneuvers. Time to choose the hardest of the five settings that the semi-active suspension has to offer? Öhlins technician Martin Lugnberg advises the race mode.

Adjustable steering damper is electronically monitored

The drizzle was kind enough to hold back, so I quickly switched to race mode. That means: no more cornering ABS and no ABS on the rear wheel, wheelie control reduced, throttle response very direct, the suspension set-up tight. And now the Panigale gets going like the fire department. Greedily clicks forward when turning the gas, hugs the curbs wonderfully in second-gear turns, and remains significantly calm even when turning the gas quickly and anchoring hard. The grip on the rear wheel is enormous, but the Ducati 1299 Panigale S does not have to be forcefully forced onto the tight line when accelerating out.

Thanks to the strengthened middle, the Ducati 1299 Panigale S delivers a lot of flavor when entering the corner. The V2 turns up with force, only from 10,000 / min its anger subsides a little, because the 1199 seems a bit more energetic. But it is still a bit of a beast and can still fidget with the handlebars when accelerating on hilltops and the start-finish straight. Good to know that the adjustable steering damper is electronically monitored. It is also nice that the notches that have finally been milled offer proper grip in wet conditions and when changing lean angles quickly. The Duc does it effortlessly and smoothly.

Armed to face the competition

Race mode also means: wheelie control at the second sharpest level. The pilot is already a little challenged when, for example, on the home straight, the Ducati 1299 Panigale S makes a manikin at just under 250 on a knoll and a gust of wind reaches under the front wheel. Then concentration is required, especially since the braking zone comes with a good 290 things. With full force in the iron, the Duc remains unmoved and stable on course, downshifting without clutch works perfectly.

Although the Panigale is the most manoeuvrable Ducati superbike to date, riding it fast was quite an intense exercise. The Ducati 1299 Panigale S looks smoother, more polished and more sociable thanks to its more powerful torque and refined geometry. And no less brutal in terms of sheer performance. Equipped with an open Termignoni titanium system, as it was ready for a few laps, it delivers even crisper torque and response. Unfortunately, the pleasure didn’t last long. The drizzle returned and ended the day of testing. Goal initial contact has already shown that the 1299 Panigale S is prepared to face the competition.

Technical data Ducati 1299 Panigale S


Ducati

In addition to the previously known three driving modes Rain, Sport and Race, the Ducati 1299 Panigale S now also has cornering ABS, an eight-stage wheelie control and an automatic gearshift that also enables downshifting without the clutch.

Ducati 1299 Panigale S.

What’s new?


Ducati

The Ducati 1299 Panigale S has become a very active motorcycle and has increased drivability.

  • engine Bore now 116 mm (previously 112), 1285 cm³ (1198 cm³), 205 HP at 10,500 / min (195 HP at 10,750 / min), torque 144 Nm at 8750 / min (132 Nm at 9000 / min), compression 12, 6: 1 (12.5: 1)
  • landing gear Semi-active chassis, steering head angle 66 degrees (65.5 degrees), caster 96 mm (100 mm), swing arm pivot point 4 mm lower, electronically controlled steering damper
  • electronics Bosch 9.1 MP-ABS / ME, wheelie control, automatic gearshift with down-shift function, rear wheel lift-off detection, lean ABS (not in racing mode), lean angle indicator in the display, automatic tire calibration, DDA + with GPS preparation
  • miscellaneous Windshield 20 mm higher, rear and cladding redesigned, new seat upholstery, milled notches, larger air inlets

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