Compared to last year's model, the '06 600 has smoother low-end throttle response that lets you crack open the throttle sooner exiting a corner without worrying about unsettling the chassis. Though the meat of the power doesn't come until beyond 8000 rpm, the engine runs cleanly at lower revs, letting you short-shift and pull a taller gear through a corner to reduce wheelspin-especially useful when the tires are worn near the end of a race or track day. That proved useful on the short chute between the Honda Hairpin and Siberia, and between the tight downhill MG corner and the long uphill Turns 11/12 that end a lap at Phillip Island. Speaking of gears, both the 600 and 750 have a digital gear indicator this year, like the 1000, which proved especially useful on the smaller bike. They also have a programmable shift light, which would be more useful if it were moved up higher on the dash and not hidden behind the clutch cable. Rocketing down Phillip Island's half-mile-long front straight on the 600, I had to pay close attention to the tach needle to shift at the power peak, which came a tad shy of the 500-rpm-higher, 16,000-rpm redline. The LCD speedo was set in metric mode the first day, and I routinely saw 250 kph (about 155 mph) before braking (slightly) for Turn 1, named for five-time Aussie MotoGP Champion Mick Doohan.