Hot Lap of Circuito de Jerez On A Ducati Panigale V4 R

Testing for Cycle World magazine these past three decades has provided the opportunity to ride many great sportbikes on several of the world’s premier circuits. Capturing onboard video has allowed myself and other editors to share the POV experience with viewers.


Testing for Cycle World magazine these past three decades has provided the opportunity to ride many great sportbikes on several of the world’s premier circuits. Capturing onboard video has allowed myself and other editors to share the POV experience with viewers. My recent 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R First Ride Review video concluded with a full lap of Spain’s Circuito de Jerez, however the footage was an out lap on unscrubbed slicks. So here is lap three of that session aboard Ducati’s superbike homologation special.

There are a few things to note that may enhance the viewing experience. The Panigale TFT dash features an analog-style tachometer with visual shift cue, changing from steady gray to a flashing orange/red as revs surpass 14,500 rpm. There is also a red shift light located in the upper right corner of the dash set to illuminate at 15,000 rpm and a yellow light to the left indicating DTC and/or DWC intervention. During this particular session I had traction control set on level 4 and wheelie control on level 3. Lastly, scattered damp patches remain from early morning showers. Look out!Start Straight

Off the final hairpin we power up the pit straight shifting into fifth gear crossing the start-finish stripe to begin a lap of the 2.75-mile, 13-turn circuit. My braking reference is the far edge of the shadow cast across the track, but moisture in the braking zone prompts cutting the throttle a moment early to allow the bike to settle before applying a firm two-finger squeeze on the lever. The increasing incline on approach to the second-gear right helps slow the bike while Ducati cornering ABS, auto-blip shifter, and slipper clutch reduce much of the risk when banking the bike toward the apex under braking.Turn 1

The V4 R rails a 6-inch-wide dry line as it hugs the paint through the apex. The Pirelli superbike slicks remain super planted as throttle is applied on the exit while being mindful of reduced road camber nearing the track’s outer edge. Note the yellow dash light illuminate driving toward turn 2, in this instance it’s wheelie control intervention.

Turns 2 And 3

Hard on the binders for the downhill corner entry, I close up on another journalist midcorner and delay throttle application until knowing his heading. He’s aiming for the preferred late apex, so I’m back on the gas with TC light flickering as we slip past leaving a courteous berth. It’s essential here to grab a short shift into third gear prior to decking the bike in the left-hander that follows. Although this has engine revs dipping to 8,500 rpm, the V4 R offers an abundance of midrange grunt and invokes a bit of wheelspin on the exit.

Turn 4

My favorite section of track comes next as the bike drifts onto the exit paint setting up the entry into the fast left. Roll out but don’t apply any brake going in, the goal being to feed throttle before the apex and get it fully pinned early on the exit. A hint of DTC action driving out maintains a controlled drift. Awesome fun and better even still when riding with DTC level 1 in a later session.

Turn 5

Maintaining a bit of left bank angle arcs the bike across track setting up for turn 5 as the engine taps its rev limiter in unison with my brake mark. The uphill entry into this long right-hand carousel corner scrubs speed well after the front brake is released. Ideally you would run in deeper and a bit wide as there’s plenty of room to gather it up and get pointed for a late-apex exit. Damp patches on the preferred entry line have me thinking twice about the bike’s $39,995 sticker and my short list of excuses for a costly mistake. We duck inside playing it safe. Although the exit is crested and blind, following the darkies painted on previous laps offers a nice visual guide to the outer edge of the track.

Back Straight Into Dry Sack Hairpin

Accelerating into fifth gear down Jerez’s longest straight, my focus is trained on the braking reference, an overhead sign spanning the track. I lack the courage or pressing desire to carry it that deep, but whoa nelly! The winged V4 R feels so composed under hard braking at speed that lap after lap I chastised myself for having not run in deeper on approach to the Dry Sack hairpin. Bing, bing, bing down into second gear, the Ducati’s superb auto-blip eliminates throttle hand motion, making easy work of maintaining constant brake lever pressure as the bike slows with room to spare.

Turns 7 And 8

We swing wide out of Dry Sack, but the agile V4 R has no problem getting back across track to set up the turn 7 entry. A momentary throttle check, peel in, and back on the power at the apex while aiming for the painted apron lining the outer edge of the track. This sets up a trail-braking entry into the following left, an increasing-radius bend that rewards a very late apex with a thrilling lengthy exit drift.

Turns 9 And 10

Drop down to second gear under braking while avoiding the wet patches entering the two-corner complex, a pair of 90-degree rights taken as one long arch at speed.

Turns 11 And 12

Upshift to third on the run to this pair of fast rights I find to be the most butt-puckering section of the circuit. Time can be made or lost through these bends separating the men from the boys. At my ripe age I’m a cautious kid who doesn’t wish to end up in the paddock fence! Cutting across the apex paint of the second right is the way to do it if your name is Márquez.

Turn 13

The chute leading to the track’s final turn is compressed at speed, but has a sign bridging the track providing a handy brake reference…maybe for Marc? This 180-degree hairpin is taken in second gear on my stock geared Panigale V4 R with engine revs dipping to 7,000 rpm midcorner. Here again there’s enough torque on tap to provide a strong linear delivery off the apex. Note there’s no TC indication on this exit, credit the Pirelli’s superb grip, positive road camber, and my habitual metered throttle input stemming from a lifetime riding without TC. Wheelie control intervention in second and third gear on the exit resulted in some unpleasant porpoise action. Lowering DWC to level 1 for the following session was the ticket.