The change of tune is partly down to good old practice. If you've spent your days on Japanese liter bikes, the Ducati 1098S is difficult to ride. So many standard techniques either don't work or result in unpleasant surprises that it's easy to get dispirited. The Ducati 1098S is so capable, bit it requires the utmost confidence and commitment to get anywhere near its potential. The Ducati is so race poised, just to much for the average rider. It demands very special skills. Everything on the Ducati 1098S is awesome, but put it all together, makes it a real fecker to keep the front down when you want to.
So here, are my tips for rapid acclimatisation to an Ducati 1098S:
- Keep the revs above 4000rpm in U-turns because when it stalls the massive twin stops the motorcycle dead and you'll be paddling like a duck. And wide A-road are not wide enough – this ain't no joke.
- Open the throttle slowly midcorner until you're used to the immense torque. The Honda Fireblade I ran before was hardly gutless, but the Ducati 1098S is in a different league. Used to smoothly winding on midcorner power at about 5000rpm on the Honda Fireblade, I kept doing the same thing on the Ducati 1098S and was lucky not to meet the grass close-up.
- Do not snatch open the throttle in first gear at 5000rpm for a peppy overtake or 'to see what happens'. IT will loop. By chance I was covering the back brake.
- Do not use the clutch for wheelies. It slips and, is utterly unnecessary in first, second and, with a small crest, third gear.
- Do not slam on the brakes without gripping the tank with your knees like you're trying to dent it, and building up gently. This is the only road bike I've ridden where I honestly thought I was going over the handlebars. The brakes are so strong you have to consciously push down on the footpegs when braking otherwise the g-forces slide your feet forward, eventually leaving them dangling in the breeze.
- Do not employ maximum braking power when a Yamaha FZ1 is right up your tail – the rider will have palpitations and may justifiable try to punch you...