the Superleggera (and only the second person outside Ducati to sample one too), means the pressure is on. Even Claudio Domenicali, the CEO of Ducati, is present, and even he’s not ridden it yet (he’s after me). Awaiting in a scorching Mugello garage is my Superleggera, lovingly prepared, of course, Pirelli slicks wrapped in tyre warmers. I preselected my rider mode – ‘Race B’, which reduces the torque in first and second gear – though I have the option to flick into the full power A mode whilst riding. I’m given the nod to get ready. The engine fires up with a press of the starter button. Ducati has opted for the race exhaust, which means the full 234hp and an intoxicating exhaust note. A few blips of the throttle sends a spinetingling reverberation around the amphitheatre which is Mugello. I let the engine revs drop, listen to the dry clutch rattle, and give the brake lever span adjuster on the left a quick turn. It’s a conventional down-change into first gear, then clutch out and we’re down pitlane to join an empty track. The clutch is now redundant as I fire in a few quick gearchanges towards turn one. The bark between fast gear changes sounds like a gun going off and echoes around the grandstand. It’s over 30 degrees out here and the Pirelli slicks have been scrubbed and been cooking on warmers, so there’s no need to take it steady. Out of turn one, stay to the right ready for the left-right chicane of turns two and three. Immediately the carbonchassis of the Superleggera wants to turn, feeling light, accurate, and fast steering. A similar chicane at turns four and five reveals a change of direction that is simply phenomenal as my knee slider hits both apexs. Out of turn five, I’m recalibrating to sheer intensity of the V4’s power and torque, yet only tickling the throttle… and up to the spectacular Casanova, Savelli, Arrabbiata one and two, arguably one of the most exciting sections of track in the world. The Ducati drops down Savelli in one fluid movement and holds confidence-inspiring corner speed, then lines up Arrabbiata one and two. This Ducati might have the power of the factory’s WSBK contender, or near as damn it, but it’s usable and smooth. I’m a little rusty from the enforced layoff and braking and accelerating at the wrong points, but the bike is allowing me to so without a hint of complaint. Around the long turn 12 (Correntaio) for the first time and the Ducati wants to dig in and lean – not a millimetre of drift – and takes the bumps with ease. Now the fast section up to the long and lingering last corner, Bucine, before the long start-finish “This Ducati might have the power of the factory’s WSBK contender, or near as damn it, but it’s usable and smooth.” 48 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE JULY 2020 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE JULY 2020 4 9
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