Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC in comparison test

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The two beautiful Italian racers Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC in a comparison test.

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

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Isn’t it quick? Then away with it. As an RC, the F3 800 dispensations with unattractive TÜV scraps.

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

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One of the very few components of the F3 800 RC that comes across as simple and functional is the cockpit.

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… A very, very sensual motorcycle.

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Reparto Corse, that means ready to race or racing department.

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Unlike the large F4 RC, the changes to the limited F3 RC are purely cosmetic.

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Practically every screw oozes a sense of beauty and the passion of the designers…

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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The two beautiful Italian racers Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC in a comparison test.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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In the interests of equal treatment, we have also given the Duc anti-reflective coating. Do you stand very well?.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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The large cockpit provides excellent information.

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The Ducati delights the eye with many delicious details.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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Ducati 959 Panigale.

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The airy rear is an ornament, many components finely worked.

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MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC in comparison test

Nice and fast

Even on this side of 1000 cubic centimeters and 200 hp, you can have fun on the racetrack. For example with Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

AT.ragón, Spanish MotoGP track. The one with the famous stone wall. On the deserted grandstands of the start-finish straight, the spring wind whistles an eerie, brightly oscillating buzz. Opposite, in the pit lane, the Pirelli crew, with busy concentration, put the tire warmers over the next set of soft Supercorsa SP. If they didn’t know about it, they hardly suspected the almost infernal spectacle that takes place less than 300 meters further south, on the side of the World Cup track facing away from the paddock.

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Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC in comparison test
Nice and fast

MV Agusta F3 800 RC with full throttle in sixth gear to get the soul out of its three-organ exhaust. A few octaves lower than the ghostly chirping in the pit lane, but around 100 decibels louder. The speedometer reports: 253, 258, 260, 262. There is no longer a waiver between the chin section of the driver’s helmet and the tank cap of the MV. All that counts now is to hit the approaching braking point as precisely as possible at this fastest point on the lap.

Handful of kilometers per hour excess

But despite the zeal for anger with which the Varese three-pot smashing driver converts 30 centimeters deep Super Plus into kinetic energy, this is exactly where Ducati’s “little” 959 Panigale comes into the picture next to the full-throttle MV. A 160 cubic capacity bonus and around six extra horses make exactly this handful of kilometers per hour excess. At the same height both arrows through the following depression, which, together with the 200-meter sign, represents the last signal to delay.

Both anchor what they can. The jockey of the MV Agusta F3 800 RC has even finer adjustable stoppers and, like the Ducati 959 Panigale, good racing ABS, but the ultra-compact racer prances playfully with the rear, where the rear wheel of the Ducati nicely fits into the Asphalt sucks. That brings the decisive meters, at the end of the back straight the overtaking process is complete. In the deepest inclined position it is now important to keep the eternally long radius in such a way that you can accelerate again as early as possible blind (start-finish is behind a hilltop), using the entire width of the route.

Again, the Ducati rider has slight advantages. While the petite MV Agusta F3 800 RC wants to be guided very concentrated here, the not exactly massive Ducati 959 Panigale does it the other way around and guides the pilot, noticeably more stable, in turn. This creates the necessary confidence to bring more speed with you, to accelerate earlier and harder. But be careful! If you have only pressed two and not three gears, Panigalino will starve to death on your outstretched arm. V2 punch in the middle? Once upon a time. Motorsport-appropriate pressure is only applied after a good 8,000 tours, so, just like with the F3 800, manual work is the order of the day.

Courage curve – simply brilliant, on both motorcycles

But to blame the triplet of the MV Agusta F3 800 RC for this would be foolish. His charisma is unique. There are many three-cylinder models, but none like this one. The ultra-direct response, the immediacy of the power output – the appeal of this compact short-stroke engine (backward rotating crankshaft, cassette gear) can best be grasped objectively via its comparatively short gear ratio and the high speed limit of almost 14,000, but it is difficult to describe subjectively. You have to turn it around: he doesn’t turn it up, he goes nuts, as if someone had kidnapped his daughter. Nevertheless, the MV, past the pit lane described at the beginning, at best remains tuned to the larger-displacement and unspectacularly fast Ducati 959 Panigale. There is no more eerie whistling to be heard because the angry, growling Euro 4 Ducati is hardly inferior to the hoarse roaring MV in terms of ear canal flooding.

From the start of the next lap, through Aragón’s wonderfully flowing curves one to six, the image gained so far solidifies: the Ducati 959 Panigale neutral, stable, calm, yet very handy. The MV Agusta F3 800 RC, on the other hand, is even handier, more curvy, almost nervous. Your hour strikes in the second third of the track. Turn seven, a tricky right bend, another knoll behind it, then the corkscrew. A tight alternating curve steeply downhill, a bit like in Laguna Seca, only the other way around. Here, the impressive handiness when turning it down, the brilliant feedback from the front of the F3 really brings meters. This unmistakable, almost telepathic feeling for the fully stressed front wheel, it also makes the following long left, in which the second to the fourth is fully accelerated in a great incline, a celebration. Courage curve. Simply ingenious, on both motorcycles. However, the hard knocks that the automatic gearshift of the MV Agusta F3 800 RC triggers when stepping up bring a lot of unrest to the chassis. The gearbox and gearshift of the Ducati 959 Panigale work better because they are smoother and more precise. It also has the more sovereign traction control. Without incline sensors, but finely adjustable with gentle control intervention. The TC of the F3 works so casually in Italian that not only racing novices are well advised to control the slip on the rear wheel with the soulful use of the throttle hand in the old fashioned way.

MV Agusta F3 800 RC limited to 300 pieces

The chassis components? Time for a little confession. Both the Showa / Sachs combination of the Ducati 959 Panigale and the Marzocchi / Sachs duet of the MV Agusta F3 800 work so cleanly that this track test can do without any criticism of the spring and damping behavior. This of course applies to the fairly fine asphalt of Aragón, with very moderate outside temperatures and world championship performance levels on this side. The other way around it becomes a shoe: It is remarkable how these sports motorcycles simply work out of the box. Arrive, sit on it, start up, empty the tank, repeat. Depending on personal preferences, one or the other tenth can be tipped out of the adjusting screw, but the factory setups basically fit exceptionally well here as there. Ordinary mortals do not have to worry too soon about tuning.

The fact that the F3 800 RC, which is limited to 300 pieces, does not fit into any racing class and is basically nothing more than a (very) chic F3 that has been trimmed for racing training and living room showcases, cannot be criticized. High heels from supermodels also have no clickers for bicycle pedals, but still serve their purpose.

Both the F3 800 and 959 Panigale are fine, functional, exquisite track tools that put driving pleasure before lap times. They wonderfully fill the gap that the brutal 1000s have opened up.

Conclusion

Middle class? Not so long ago that these two were ranked at the top. Today they represent a more sophisticated alternative to the 1000 series. The Ducati 959 Panigale is the easier to move, more balanced, and for most riders faster motorcycle. The sensual MV Agusta F3 800 RC is positively reminiscent of a 600. It requires a jockey, but rewards precision like no other machine.

Technical specifications


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Ducati 959 Panigale and MV Agusta F3 800 RC.

If you would like the complete measurement values ​​determined by us, including all consumption, torque and acceleration values, you can buy the article as a PDF for download.

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