A new Ducati superbike is a rare thing. It’s the motorcycle equivalent of a flower that only blooms every five years or so. For our team here, living and breathing in two-wheel fandom every day, the prospect of a MotoGP-derived four-cylinder Ducati superbike was (and is) exciting. With each rumor, leaked photo, cell-phone video, and small announcement, we chatted and speculated over what the bike would be like to ride. What would it sound like? Would it be faster than a 1299 V-twin? You might say the obsession grew to a point that we couldn’t stand.
Half of an invitation to go to Italy and see the new Panigale in action was all we needed. We took a tour of the production line (which any guest can do, by the way), and soaked up an impossibly drool-worthy lineup of museum superbikes—851, 916, 999, 1098, 1299, and the new V4 all in one room. Nothing brings out the little kid in us quite like being at a motorcycle factory. Then the main event: swinging a leg over the very prototype that Casey Stoner rode to help the factory develop the new platform.
We brought cameras along so that we could share the experience with everyone we know. Hopefully the video above brings out the same unusual, adolescent level of enthusiasm that only the most special flowers… err, motorcycles, can really summon in all of us.