Ducati Panigale V2 vs Suzuki GSXR 750
Airfield Drag Race
WRITTEN BY AARON TRAVELL
Suzuki’s GSXR 750 had the middleweight superbike sector sewn up for years, a near perfect blend of engine performance and handling famous for enabling riders to cut through traffic on race tracks all around the world. Fast forward 10-15 years and the game has moved on, the 750 is no longer on sale in Europe and 200hp 1000cc superbikes have taken its place. That being said, the GSXR750 is still a fantastic motorcycle, and we’ve featured our own one extensively on Knox channels over the past few years.
A few months ago, we featured the Ducati Panigale V2 and as a part of our testing and shoot, we visited the Airfield to do some high-speed riding. Well, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out we had an opportunity for an epic drag race – The Ducati Panigale V2 vs Suzuki GSXR 750. The modern middleweight superbike vs the original. – Game on!
Prior to our test and on paper at least, we had mixed views about who would come out on top, the Ducati’s 155hp and torquey V-twin vs the 150hp screaming inline-4 of the GSXR. Torque and frequent upshifts vs screaming inline 4 power. The specs on paper at least were pretty close!
After about an hour of testing, the results were convincing. The Panigale V2 had absolute topside of the GSXR in every test we performed from the 0-140mph sprint to the in-gear tests we did 40-120mph in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears.
Essentially, we felt it came down to a few areas.
Firstly, the Panigale v2 is ridiculously easy to launch.
You can totally mess up your launch on the V2 and still be fast. The difference between a fast launch and botched one isn’t that much, enabled by the fact that you are straight in the torque and power almost from tick over. This counters the GSXR, which is very difficult to launch well, its peaky motor needs to be kept in the peak power range to come anywhere close to keeping with the V2. This involves a lot of clutch slip and it’s a fine line between getting it right and bogging the motor, the latter meaning the Panigale V2 is approx. 30m down the strip by the time you reach 140mph. Even on the one time I got it almost perfect on the GSXR, the V2 still edged it. Just a quick note to add that I was pushing so hard on the GSXR that I did in fact need a clutch replacement after the session!
Secondly, the Panigale V2 is very powerful and has loads of punch.
Whether it was the immediate punch from a standing start or the in-gear drive, the Panigale showed itself to be incredibly powerful. The in-gear performance was incredible and to be honest, left my GSXR 750 for dead, there really wasn’t any debate!
The Ducati Panigale V2 is an incredibly powerful motorcycle that proved itself more than a match for the iconic GSXR 750, providing fantastic power and drive with ease of use and a level of stability which gives you the confidence to hold the throttle to the stop in areas you may be backing off on a 1000cc superbike. Very impressive!
So having established that the V2 was faster on airfield in a straight line, how does that work in the real world or on track? Well, funnily enough, we just came back from a 2 day track day event, the latter at the famous Donington Park circuit and saw us riding all day in the same group as a few Panigale V2 race bikes. The “Art of Racing” team, who compete in the Ducati Tri-Options Cup as part of the BSB championship, were riding in my group and what we saw on the track more or less confirmed out findings at the Airfield. While these bikes were Panigale V2 race bikes with race fairings and lightweight components (minus around 20kg), Akrapovic exhaust and tune (plus around 10-15hp), aftermarket suspension and race tyres, plus ridden by very experienced racers, means they are not entirely removed from the road bike. The corner exit those bikes had was seriously impressive and from my view, they really weren’t losing very much, if at all, to any of the modern 1000cc bikes on track that day.
So, our the conclusion is, the Ducati Panigale V2 is a fast motorcycle and we think that if you want a fast superbike but aren’t quite ready for the mental top end of a modern 1000cc superbike, check the V2 out. It has most of the punch that a 1000cc has but is easier to manage and maximise on road and track!
Ironically, more or less the same proposition of the GSXR 750 10-15 years ago! 😊
Ducati Panigale V2 vs Suzuki GSXR 750 - Drag Race!
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Gear we wore on test.
Aegis Back Protector£119.99 – £139.99
Written by Aaron Travell