You get most of that functional excellence on the 999, too, though the experience is quite a bit different. For one thing, the ride is firmer, especially on the Oehlins-suspended S-model we used for this story. It's not a harsh firmness, however, which means the ride is both reasonably comfy and superbly controlled, especially at elevated speeds, where this bike shines. Ergonomically, the new Ducati is closer to its Japanese rivals, the rider now sitting lower and closer to the bars than on the 916-platform machines. As a result there's less weight on the wrists, and more comfort behind the bubble. The 999 also feels thinner and lighter from the saddle than both the GSX-R and the old 916/996/998 machines. Vibration is well-controlled, steering is as light and quick as any Japanese sportbike we can think of (and way lighter and quicker than the old desmoquattro bikes), injection manners are quite good, fit and finish are typically top shelf, and, well, you're beginning to get the picture. No longer must enthusiasts sacrifice all-around ability to get the character and mystique that defines the bikes from Bologna, which is exactly what Mr. Terblanche was after.