2022 Ducati Panigale V4 – What Are They Hiding?

by Mar 22, 2022

Kudos to Ducati for updating the 2022 Ducati Panigale V4. Few competitors evolve their superbikes with the frequency that Ducati does. For example, in the seven years since Yamaha released its new R1 in 2015, it has been updated only once. In the same period, Ducati released the Panigale 1299 and an entirely new platform in the V4, which is now in its third iteration. Nowhere else is this pace of development seen in the Sportbike world. [*Check out the current V4 range here.]

But besides advancing their product technically, model updates also help justify the inevitable price increases over the previous model year. And boy, do we have some serious cost increases this time around for the V4. More on this later.

But first, let’s take a closer look at some of the noteworthy changes.

2022 Ducati Panigale V4

2022 Ducati Panigale V4 with go fast parts


Gills, gills, and more gills. If in doubt, add gills. Personally, I like it, but styling is subjective. I’m more interested in the reasons for them, and there are two to note. Firstly, engine heat management.

Let’s just say that the Panigale V4 gets hot. Very hot. If you have ever ridden one on the street in a warmer climate, you will know what it feels like to bake in an oven. Not only do you feel the heat around your pelvis and legs, but it radiates up and around the fuel tank, engulfing your chest and neck. Have you ever experienced opening an operating wall oven and having the hot air wash over your chest? It’s a bit like that.

So, will more gills in the lower fairing help cool the rider? Ahh no. They are there to aid the oil cooler to do its job so the engine can safely eke out a few more horsepower (+2.5 hp over the previous version) and help manage the power that is already there.

The second reason for more gills is to improve the cooling of the quick-shift sensor. Strategically placed cooling inlet ducts on the lower left-hand side divert more air to the sensor, which by all reports, tend to stop playing when the heat gets too high. It will be interesting to see if this cures the issue.

2022 Ducati Panigale V4S

Keeping cool on the V4S


I have always felt the Achilles heel of Ducati sportbikes is their ergonomics. Specifically, their tanks have traditionally been thin, making it taxing to hold onto the bike during hard braking. In my view, this is what has contributed to making Ducati sportbikes comparatively ‘harder’ to ride fast. They just wear you down physically because of the added exertion required to hold onto them.

However, the Panigale series introduced significant changes to ergonomics aimed at reducing fatigue for the rider. Ducati achieved this by enlarging the fuel tanks and relaxing the riding triangle. The V4 engine configuration naturally results in a broader tank due to the engine’s width compared to a twin. And with the latest V4, they have made another adjustment.

Ducati claims the new tank better supports the rider during hard braking and cornering. Remember, their mantra is that this version is easier to ride fast. Reducing rider effort and fatigue allows the rider to ride harder for longer. Now consider my position that their ergonomics have always made their bikes harder to ride. Ducati is working hard to fix that.

Of course, a motorycle creates ever more stress on the rider as its capability increases. So, while you make a bike easier to ride, the flips side is the rider is now generating higher stress because they can ride it faster. Simple cause and effect, but well done to Ducati for focusing on rider ergonomics in this update.


2022 Ducati Panigale V4S

Shaped for your pleasure


Revised power and rider modes link to a new display option to refine the electronics package further. Ducati has tweaked the power modes and added a new ‘full power’ mode that supposedly removes any electronic filters except for first gear.

I can attest to the original V4 released in 2018 feeling more raw and urgent in race mode compared to the 2021 version I rode recently. Perhaps Ducati has plugged in a version of the original mapping into this new mode. This mode is more aggressive, countering their mantra of making the bike easier to ride, so we are left with an interesting contradiction. But at least you get the choice.

The instrument display has a new addition in the form of a ‘Track Evo’ display option with an entirely new display configuration. The main change is the relocation of the rev counter to the top of the screen in the form of a horizontal bar counter. I would argue this is a superior configuration to the circular counter Ducati has used since the introduction of the V4 and a return to the horizontal rev display used since the 1098.

Considering that practically every race bike uses a horizontal rev counter, not to mention all of Ducati’s rivals, one must wonder why Ducati went away from it. I find it much easier to understand the revs at a glance with a horizontal counter. I’m glad Ducati has brought this back, though it would be nice to be able to select this view in all of the modes rather than being exclusive to the Track Evo mode.

2022 Ducati Panigale V4S

Track Evo display


The latest version of Ohlins EC 2.0 Electronic suspension introduces a longer fork travel of 130mm (+10mm). First seen on the latest Honda Fireblade (but interestingly not adopted by the latest Yamaha R1M), the added travel of the latest pressurised fork allows the use of softer springs. Ducati claims improved feel when entering corners as a result.

The added travel and softer spring will result in more weight transfer and potentially provide for steeper geometry on corner entry, thus improving turn in. Further, as the electronically controlled suspension can dynamically manage rebound as braking force is removed during tip in to mid-corner, the net benefits of a small increase in fork stroke could be substantial.

2022 Ducati Panigale V4S

Updated suspension and geometry

I also suspect the added travel will help keep the front wheel on the ground under hard acceleration, with obvious benefits. It will be interesting to see if 130mm front fork travel becomes the norm in sportbikes in the future. It has been a while since Showa updated its Big Piston range; let’s see how they respond.

As an aside, there is no word on whether or not the suspension changes are also applied to the base model, but judging from photos, it does not appear that the base model Showa fork shares the increased travel of its S model sibling.


The 2022 version brings with it more than just specification changes. Significant price rises (for the Australian market, at least – AUD 43,600 ride-away is $2,710 more than 2021) are included free of charge. Ducati is reacting to rising inflation now engulfing every corner of the world economy (so-called) and passing on the higher cost of production to consumers. Get used to it.

Ducati are no mugs, and they would have known that inflationary pressures were on the horizon. So, they were forced to choose between significantly increasing the price of their existing Panigale, or present to market an ‘updated’ version to soften the blow of the increased cost.

Choosing the latter is a shrewd choice because they know that sooner or later, their competitors will have to face the same choice. If you are a consumer, choosing between an updated and ‘better’ version of the Ducati versus the same specification, but now more expensive rival may tip the balance in Ducati’s favour.

2022 Ducati Panigale V4S

Is the price rise justified?


There’s no doubting the Panigale V4 is a sexy fast machine. Whether you think the price is justified or not is up to you. But this is beside the point, really. I don’t think anyone will dispute the brilliance of the 2022 Ducati Panigale V4. Of more significance is the price rise. This is the beginning of an inflation cycle that will put this motorcycle, and others like it, out of reach of even more people. The days of ‘cheap’ superbikes and two-year model cycles are over. That was a golden age now long gone, never to return. Instead, we are entering a new era. So get one while you still can.

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