Ducatis in Malaysia: Red riding hoot!

At least the Diavel’s familiar territory. And it also happens to be excellent fun on the track... apart from the two times it went into false neutral at 220kph as I was braking for the first corner. After that, I take it easy, pushing it only in the fast sweepers, where the Diavel is as planted as anything in the world. It doesn’t really like chicanes, but does its best to please you. Again, like the Streetfighter, the Diavel is more fun than I’d expected. But nothing prepares you for the Panigale.

Even before I swing a trembling leg over it, the Panigale has me swooning. I don’t know how they do it, but each Ducati superbike looks more perfect, more beautiful than the previous one. It’s got a steely glint in its eyes and design cues worthy of being called art – and it’s so tiny! Tiny, but with an incredible 195bhp from a 1200cc V-twin called the Superquadro. That’s 600cc and 97.5bhp per cylinder – no wonder there’s a ‘super’ in Superquadro.

There’s absolutely no hanging about with the Panigale. It knows its focus and doesn’t waste time with civilities the way in-line-fours do. From the first time I twist the throttle, it feels like I’m commanding an avalanche of pure torque that grips the road with a ferocity that’s a stark contrast to the Panigale’s lines. And even more mind-boggling is how extremely controllable this devastation is.