Pushing Boundaries

Story by Costa Mouzouris// Photos by Manuel Eletto & Matteo Cavadini
May 30 2023

Advanced electronics play a major role when aggressive riding is called for.

No one will argue that going to a racetrack for a few sessions of high-speed shenanigans is not a lot of fun. Track day weekends booked fully months in advance are proof of that. Riding a track-capable motorcycle that’s equipped to make riding at your limit easier — and faster — is even more fun. Spoiler alert: Spending six 20-minute sessions aboard the 2023 Ducati Streetfighter V4S at Spain’s Andalucia Circuit is the most fun I’ve had on a racetrack to date.

Admittedly, I was slightly intimidated by the prospect of thrashing a 205-horsepower naked bike around a racetrack I’d never ridden before, even though the folks at Ducati assured me that the updated Streetfighter V4S was designed to be easier to ride than the previous model. Changes include a revised chassis setup and more advanced electronics, the latter focusing on rider aids.

It’s easy to be intimidated by a motorcycle that produces 205 hp and just over 90 lb-ft of peak torque, and that weighs just 201.5 kg full of gas. That’s open-class supersport power; 25 hp more than the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, and 32 more than the Aprilia Tuono V4. It’s right on par with the BMW M1000R (205 hp), but the German bike doesn’t have the low-to-midrange punch of the Ducati, producing 83 lb-ft of peak torque at 11,100 rpm, 1,600 rpm higher than the Ducati.

Intimidation Tamed

The Streetfighter has supersport-class output because its 1,103 cc Desmosedici Stradale V4 comes directly from the Panigale V4, in all of its un-neutered glory: it hasn’t been detuned for naked-bike duty, though engine mapping is specific to the Streetfighter. If you are nonetheless intimidated by straddling the bike but aspire to improve your riding skills before unleashing its full 205-hp fury, it now has four engine delivery maps: Full, High, Medium and Low. Full and Low are new this year, the latter of which limits output to a modest 165 hp.

Other changes to the electronics include different torque curves for each gear to help manage power delivery (lower torque in lower gears, higher torque in higher gears), and there’s now a Wet mode added to the existing Road, Sport, and Race modes that sets traction control, ABS and throttle mapping for riding in the rain.

The adjustable engine braking also has different mapping in each gear, and the quick shifter now has different mapping if the throttle is partially or
fully open to provide smoother clutchless gear changes on the road and on the track. Also included but unchanged are adjustable wheelie and slide controls.

The Streetfighter had an excellent chassis to begin with, so refinements are minimal: the swingarm pivot has been raised by 4 mm to reduce rear squat when accelerating, which improves corner exit. Öhlins provides the fully adjustable Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES), which includes a 43 mm inverted fork and a TTX36 shock. Adjustments are linked to the ride modes, but can also be adjusted individually through the instrument panel. Preload is manually adjustable…


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