Astride the orange and white steed, the usual Ducati signatures are immediately evident: a surprisingly slim chassis, a crisp sense of responsiveness from twisting the right handgrip, and the unmistakable rumble of the massive reciprocation of the L-oriented cylinders, topped with desmodromic valves. Sure, the top-dog 1299 V-4 roars with its own particular thunder. But if anything, the 959’s bark is like a nostalgic nod to Ducati’s twin-cylinder era that set it apart from the ubiquitous perfection of the inline-four-wielding competition. This is soulful character, and power delivery is far more manageable and usable than Ducati’s earlier L-twin flagships like the 1098, which chattered and bucked at lower rpm until it reached its midrange sweet spot and finally began to sing. However, that soul also has a practical cost, namely in the form of heat. Radiating intensely from the seat is a serious amount of thermal energy, which made itself painfully apparent during one ride on a warm-ish SoCal day.