he Ducati racing twin is dead. That’s three decades of legacy, three decades of rattly dry clutches, three decades of red memories, three decades of feeling—all consigned to the past. For me, Ducati’s formula of speed was solid ground to stand on when the world was trying to spin me off. When my personal chronology was fractured, Ducati superbikes were the reliable, familiar two-cylinder bridge between the corporeal present and the bewildering diffusion of memory. The Panigale V4 S has two too-many cylinders and it doesn’t have most of the characteristics that make a Ducati a Ducati. The 90-degree engine layout and desmo valve actuation are the only signature mechanical elements it really has in common with the Ducatis we all fell in love with. Sure, the Panigale V4 S looks brilliant on paper (214 hp at the counterrotating crank, twin-pulse firing order, Öhlins semi-active electronic suspension, the most advanced electronics suite on the market), but Ducatis made their name by defying spec sheets unable to convey their brilliance in the artificiality of two dimensions. It was never about the numbers. Did Ducati just leave me behind?