An article from August 2013, discussing the probable cause of Ducati’s non-performance in SBK: Restricted to Death – The future of Ducati’s 1199 Panigale in SBK World Superbike.
The previous 1198 Testastretta engine came stock with 63.9mm Throttle Bodies and was required byFIM rules to run 50mm intake restricters to reduce power. The new 1199 Superquadro engine has massive new 67mm Throttle Bodies are bigger than on most race car engines. But it still had to breath through the 50mm Restrictors at the start of the 2013 race season, on an engine designed to make its peak power 1,000 RPM higher. The new engine now needs 1000 rpm x 1198cc more air per minute pulled though those same tiny 50mm restrictor plates – that’s equivalent to 316.5 gallons of air more per minute!
So the new 1199RS is probably only making the same 195hp peak horsepower as the old 1198RS, but now with the loss of the old engine’s big advantage in mid-range power and traction. The new Panigale with its narrower powerband, can’t pull out of the corners like the old bike, while on the big straightaways its down some 30+ hp / 10 mph to the much more powerful 230-240hp 1000cc 4-cylinder superbikes.
Strike One: Effectively, Ducati shot itself in the foot with the new 1199 Superquadro engine. Which on its own is an incredible engine. But In designing it to make more peak power to stay completive in the Superbike street market, it gave-up the famous mid-range power that Ducati enthusiasts love.
Strike Two: Then in SBK World Superbike the 50mm intake restrictors have nullified its designed-in power increase.
With Two Strikes against it over last year’s Testastretta engine, you can understand why the Superquadro is not competitive this year in World Superbike. No amount of “development” can help a great engine design, that didn’t anticipate running in a restricted race class, or needing to be highly modified beyond stock production specs.
Now if you are watching the 1199S/R in SBK European Superstock last season and this season, the stock Barni and Alstare Ducati bikes have been somewhat completive against the stock BMW 1000RR and Kawasaki ZX-10 machines. Sock for stock, even with intake restrictors, the Panigale is somewhat completive in Superstock just as it was designed to be. The only disadvantage for the new 1199 Superquadro in Superstock seems to be the higher RPM motor is not as kind on its rear tires as the old Testastretta long stroke motor was, and now towards the end of a race, the tires are going off and lap times are suffering.
But in the World Superbike class where the 1000cc fours are allowed to employ higher compression pistons with more radical camshaft timing, and breath in as much air as as they need to make even more power. While the 1200cc V-twin bikes – the Ducati1199RS is restricted even further to stock 1199 pistons, although all bikes are allowed to make compression increases by maching the cylinder head surface.