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I was on the new Ducati SuperSport, an offering that’s been re-incarnated for 2017.....

As I scythed my way through some of the sweetest turns I’d ever seen, the big red Ducati was on the limiter. Slamming the brakes, the bike held its line perfectly as I tipped in and pushed the front edge grip to the max. Hard on the gas exiting the turn with a good feeling of drift letting me concentrate on what was ahead rather than the present, and I tucked in as I blasted past the finish line.

Had I won? Well in a way, yes. I was on the new Ducati SuperSport, an offering that’s been re-incarnated for 2017. And although it may seem like a track-orientated beastie – especially when you get a chance to ride it around the circuit – nothing could be further from the truth.

The new SuperSport with its 11º 937cc Testastretta engine produces 83.1kW on the Ducati chassis dyno. It meets the stringent Euro 4 emissions regulations, making it efficient and modern. It’s got 96.7Nm of torque to give the bike its speed and a certain fun factor which all Ducati machinery needs to share. The figures of this booming V-twin aren’t spectacular, but that’s not what this bike is all about.

While Ducati’s Panigale is aimed squarely at the sportsbike market, the SuperSport is a multi-tasker, and it’s the most versatile track/street bike yet. There was a time when the SS ruled the racetrack, but now its focus has been shifted to make it more consumer-friendly, with cheaper maintenance a major priority.

A relaxed riding position ensures it’s comfortable for street conditions. Adding to that plushness, the fitment of an adjustable screen protects the rider from the weather in the highest position, while still retaining that cool sportsbike look when it’s down low, parked at the local café.

Making throttle inputs is simple – the fuel’s metered perfectly with the Bosch ECU sending orders to the Mikuni throttle bodies, and the ride-by-wire system works brilliantly, helping the bikes different mapping functions (Sport, Touring, Urban) put the rider’s needs first.

The frame is a similar concept to the Panigale, being a stressed member, although it’s not made of the same alloy. The steel trellis design is one that Ducati has used many times successfully in the past and personally I think it can be better than alloy. Especially when it comes to absorbing bumps, which funnily enough describes 90 per cent of Australian roads; and after all the job description of this bike is to commute, travel and play.

Then there’s the traffic. City riding is a major pain in the rear end, but it’s a pain most of us must endure. I did manage to spend a couple of hours on the SuperSport in heavy Sydney traffic and I’m glad I did. It was this congestion that gave me the opportunity to appreciate how the subtle changes and ergos worked in the real world. It didn’t overheat, the mirrors were out of the way but provided good vision, and most pleasantly the bike felt light.

The SuperSport surprises in more ways than one. For a more in-depth look at this new red gem see our full test soon in AMCN.

By Steve Martin