Ducati’s production racing dominance forced the hands of the other manufacturers to play the V2 game, in a period that became flush with V-twins of different flavors, including the Aprilia RSV Mille, Suzuki TL1000R, and Honda RC51. In my family’s garage, more often than not, I reached for the keys to the RC51, overlooking the more powerful R1 and the nimbler GSX-R750 sitting next to it (yes, it was a charmed life for a 17-year-old). The RC51’s characterful engine and the beautiful racket of the exhaust made the inline-fours feel plebeian by comparison. The era culminated on the racing world stage with the showdown at Imola of 2002. Troy Bayliss versus Colin Edwards. Ducati versus Honda. The Zealot versus The Pretender.