Introducing the Ducati 1199 Panigale R, a race ready bike that just happens to have a license plate.
For starters, the 1,198cc L-twin engine gains titanium connecting rods, a diamond-like coating on the rocker arms, and a lighter flywheel, all of which help extend redline by 500 rpm to a nice, round 12,000 rpm. Revised ECU programming helps smooth out the engine's power delivery (which comes in at 195 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque, identical to the S model), and the mapping is retroactively available to all 2012 Panigale owners, along with new heat shields intended to address complaints of discomfort. Counteracting the higher revs is shorter gearing, thanks to extra rear sprocket teeth which now totals 41; together with the engine's lower reciprocating mass and higher rev ceiling, acceleration is improved while top speed remains unchanged. Other changes include a bubble windscreen for more aerodynamic protection, various carbon fiber trim bits, a grippier seat finish, a separate Termignoni exhaust system that's only legal for track use, and a built-in GPS-based data acquisition system which automatically times laps and maps the track.
The 2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R is priced at $29,995, a $7,000 premium over the S model. What's it like to ride at the new Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas? Click "Next" to find out.