The Ducati 959 Panigale is the successor to the 899 Panigale and baby brother to the 1299 Panigale.
Its two-cylinder engine is tucked into a monocoque frame that sports a redesigned nose fairing, headlight and tailpiece.
Weighing just 176kg dry, it is packed with technologies such as Ducati Quick Shift, triple-stage Bosch anti-lock braking system (ABS), eight-stage Ducati Traction Control (DTC) used by the company's MotoGP and World Superbike teams, Engine Brake Control (EBC), which enhances stability when approaching corners, and even a slipper clutch that makes for smoother gear shifts.
The bike comes with three riding modes. In default Sport, the rider gets to harness all the 157bhp on tap, with a high degree of DTC coverage and a sport-oriented EBC with front and rear ABS activation.
In Race mode, power is served up in a much more urgent manner, while DTC intervenes less, EBC is race-oriented and ABS is only at the front. In Wet mode, power is dialled down to 100bhp and comes on more gently, DTC intervention is on maximum, EBC aligns with environmental conditions and ABS is on full alert.
SPECS/ DUCATI 959 PANIGALE
Price: From $39,800 with COE and insurance
Engine: 955cc Superquadro L-twin cylinder 8-valve liquid-cooled
Transmission: Six-speed with quick shift, chain-drive
Power: 157bhp at 10,500rpm
Torque: 107.4Nm at 9,000rpm
0-100kmh: 3.38 seconds
Top speed: More than250kmh
Fuel consumption: 5.6 litres/100km
Agent: Ducatisti SG
Suspension is nimble, thanks to 43mm fully adjustable Showa Big Piston Forks in front and a fully adjustable, side-mounted Sachs mono-shock in the rear.
This package rides on Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres (120/70 ZR17 front and 180/60 ZR17 rear).
As always, the Panigale is a head- turner. Even its new twin-pipe exhaust on the right - a side effect of this being the first Superquadro engine to obtain Euro 4 rating - does not rob it of too much sex appeal.
Sure, the new pipes may not be as ergonomically pleasing as the short under-belly pipe on the earlier Panigale, but you quickly forget about the aesthetics once the bike is in motion.