A modern-day open-class production superbike is engineered with everything needed to strive for the ultimate lap time and nothing it doesn't. Each is pumped with the essential performance-enhancing power and electronic elements, then stripped to the bone to shed weight. Superbikes are about the complete package. All the right minimums and all the right maximums. This year's competitors? The class benchmark Ducati Panigale V4 S, bored-out Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, and the all-new 2020 BMW S 1000 RR will do.
Our sister publication, Cycle World magazine, gathered the bunch as part of its 2019 Superbike Shootout. Two days of regimented, private testing at Thunderhill Raceway Park's 15-turn, 3-mile east course meant each competitor was under the scrutiny of the testing staff—which included Cycle World Road Test Editor and full-time MotoAmerica racer Michael Gilbert, Motorcyclist Senior Editor Adam Waheed, Red Bull stunt athlete Aaron Colton, and Cycle World test legend Don Canet.
Watch the video to see a side-by-side comparison of the lap times recorded on each machine. Wait until the checkered flag. Talk about splitting hairs!