There’s still 3,500rpm to go. Nervously trusting the Italian engineers, the rev-counter carries on its plight to redline without the motor shooting pieces of conrod out of the exhaust, and the quick-shifter slips the gearbox seamlessly into third gear where the whole process starts again. All the while, the front wheel mostly behaves itself. In most cases, this level of acceleration would send it into uncontrollable loop-de-loop spins and yet, here, it merely hops now and then. Much of this is down to the wheelie control and its unnoticeable intervention, but some of the credit should surely go to those double wings, similar to the ones found on the current MotoGP bike, gracing the side panels. At 270km/h, the wings are exerting 81Nm of torque downwards. That’s a little less than a Monster 821 at full tilt. At the end of the straight, pull the Brembo braking system and let the auto-blip handle the downchanges, while the Ohlins semiactive suspension soaks up the load on the front wheel. Tip the bike into the turn and feel the benefits of just 201kg. Like most Super Nakeds, the SF feels small – the bars sit close to the rider and seem to disappear from consciousness as the rider gets busy dealing laps. It’s a strange paradox, but usually, when motorcycles feel small, light and compact, they are implicitly unstable. Either the compactness is merely an illusion caused by genius ergonomics or Ohlins is at such a level that physics no longer apply, but the bike tips in effortlessly and then sits firmly in the middle of the corner to such a degree that the slightly lowered footpegs start kissing the ground. Most of the medium-paced corners can be handled in either second gear if the rider is very precise with the throttle, or in third gear for a smoother flow. While the dimensions of the motor remain the same as the Panigale, the throttle mappings have received a thorough go-over, resulting in six horsepower being knocked off the top of the dyno curve but a big chunk more torque being thrown in the midrange. At the peak of the torque curve, the SF pushes out 123Nm, but 70% of that is available from as low as 4,000rpm. Compared to some of its Super Naked peers, the SF’s motor has an almost gentle feel through the long bends with the full fury being awakened only when the throttle is full tap. The concerns about the Streetfighter was that Ducati is making the same mistakes as before, creating a motorcycle that tops every performance goal in the class, and yet is entirely horrid to ride. Ducati has relied on the Monsters range for years, a product line that has been the bread and butter for the Bologna brand since the 90s. The Monsters have embraced the joy of twins combined with a sporty attitude and liveable character. The Streetfighter was about naked sportiness at all costs. It appears that the philosophy has now changed – the Monsters will continue making people smile, continue serving and continue the V-twin happiness. The Streetfighter will now do the same, except with that mad MotoGP engine. 46 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE AUGUST 2020 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE AUGUST 2020 47
ROAD TRACK DIRT GET A GRIP ON 2020!