Ducati has joined forces with the largest Italian web provider to field a team in the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship. Called Aruba.it Racing, it’s the only official Ducati team in the 2015 Superbike World Championship. Under the lead of Chief Racing Engineer Gigi Dall’Igna, Ducati has updated the Panigale 1199 R to comply with new technical regulations designed to bring the racing bikes closer to the production machines on which they are derived.
That production model is the new 1199 R, the only Panigale still within the 1.2-liter displacement limit, thanks to its 112.0mm bore and 60.8mm stroke. Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali, however, could decide that the time has come for the development of a 1299-derived 1199 with a 116mm bore and a 56.7mm stroke.
As per the new Superbike rulebook, the 2015 Panigale 1199 R-based racer features stock suspension, brakes, and chassis, all upgraded from production. In addition, Ducati turned to Akrapovich for a new exhaust that’s a substantial improvement over the previous unit, as confirmed by Superbike Project Manager Racing Ernesto Marinelli: “The 2015 Panigale R Superbike is an evolved version of the one we raced in 2014. We have come into line with the new technical regulations and the biggest changes are the new electronics, the engine, and the new exhaust system. The electronics package has been totally revised, also because a 8,000-euro price cap has been introduced by the regulations. Many components have been changed, in particular the sensors, including the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) platform, which is now in common with production bikes, as well as the new Magneti Marelli MLE, which costs less than a third of the one used last year. Despite the significant difference in price, we have however been able to maintain virtually the same management strategies and update them with new settings. The engine is not as highly tuned as before and is closer to the production engine of the new Panigale R, using the same pistons, but in any case we have succeeded in maintaining the same maximum power output as the 2014 bike.”
Both team riders, Chaz Davies and Davide Giuliano, were very pleased after the two-day pre-season test at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Giuliano was clocked at a very impressive 1:39.33, the fastest time ever recorded by a superbike and a new unofficial record for the class. Davies was close behind, confirming that the Ducati Panigale 1199 R has evolved in a positive way and is ready for the 2015 SBK season.