I’m a great fan of the smaller capacity Ducati sports bikes. I hold to the principle that a sports bike, like a sports car, is one with which you have to fully engage and whose performance should be exploitable – albeit with concentrated practice – on the roads or tracks on which you or I use it. That immediately disqualifies most modern litre-class sports bikes and and high-end sports cars – the combination of huge horsepower and software intervention that makes them ridiculously capable in the hands of riding and driving gods on the Nurburgring simply frustrates us mere mortals who are (usually vainly) trying to get them to a place where they can be bothered to wake up and take an interest.My first bike on my return to motorcycling was a Ducati 748 and, despite having since ridden examples of all full-fat Ducati sports bikes made since then, I’m still enamoured of the balance of power, handling and usability of this machine and its ilk. OK, so the current ‘small’ Ducati sports bike – the 899 Panigale – puts out 150bhp – more power than ANY road-going Ducati built prior to 2007 but, relative to the axe-murderer 1199 Panigale, the principle still applies. Continue reading