The arrival of the Ducati V4 R: Behind the scenes with Oxford Racing Ducati

The countdown to the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship official test at Monteblanco in Spain continues and with the arrival of the new Ducati V4 R ahead of the new season, the teams have been working hard ahead of its track debut in BSB specification.

We caught up with the Oxford Racing Ducati team during arguably the busiest time of the season, as they shared the preparation of turning the Italian manufacturer’s latest Superbike into a Bennetts BSB race ready machine.

“The team placed an order for two bikes direct to Ducati Corse at the final round of the 2018 season in October,” said Iain Hopcroft, the Team Manager of Oxford Racing Ducati. “However it wasn’t until earlier this year when the team went to the factory at the start of February to work with the staff to build the race bike.”

With the opening test of the 2019 Bennetts BSB season upcoming in the second week of March, the team visited the Bologna factory to work directly with Ducati Corse staff at the home of the Italian manufacturer, the factory that also develops the MotoGP and World Superbike team efforts.

“Our four full-time team members spent five days at the factory to build the V4 race bike from scratch. It was great to work through the maintenance and best practice of the new bike with the staff there, many of whom have been involved with the complete development of the bike and the new Superbike project. The most noticeable thing about the new model is that it has some similar characteristics to previous Superbike models, but also more accessible and clever workings which will help throughout the season.”

The next stage on the drive back to the UK workshop at their dealership in Winchester was to stop at Termignoni, for them to mock up the race system and develop to adapt to meet the regulations.

On arrival back to the UK the team in the middle of February, the preparation continued to forge ahead: “The team then focused on new fuelling strategies,” added Hopcroft. “Steve (Team Owner) has been hard at work on the laptop, the new V4 R is obviously different from the Panigale previously, and moving from two cylinders to four cylinders requires new data by comparison to previous years.”

A big part of bringing a new Superbike model to life is adapting to meet the regulations, with the MoTeC ECU, being fitted to each Bennetts BSB machine to line up on the grid. 

“When we got back to the workshop we continued to fit the wiring loom and the brackets to house the loom before we took the bike to MoTeC earlier this week. The focus is then on throttle and how the electronics work to BSB regulations as the factory World Superbike spec Ducati runs a Magneti Marelli system,” added Hopcroft.

And yesterday on the final day of February, just under two weeks from arriving back in the UK with the new Ducati V4 R, the Oxford Racing Ducati team had the new bike up and running for the first dyno work of the season ahead of its on track debut in just under two weeks’ time.

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