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Ducati Streetfighter 848: First Ride
It was getting to be rather tense. It was the Sunday during the Malaysian Grand Prix and the dense clouds had darkened. The Moto3 Grand Prix had just got over to a nail biting finish with an all-KTM dog fight won by half a wheel by champion elect Sandro Cortese from local ace Zulfahmi Khairuddin and I was yet having the woollies in the stomach.
No, it wasn’t about the MotoGP event to follow, mind still fresh from the tragic crash that robbed us of Marco Simoncelli at this very circuit a year ago but for the fact that if the dark clouds persisted, my ride the next day on the very Sepang circuit with Ducati would have all but been taken to the cleaners! It was not about the fact that the bikes lined up for us the next day, as part of a certain arrive and ride event (not to be confused by the DRE or Ducati Riding Experience) included the Panigale and the Diavel but the fact that there was also the 848 Streetfighter, a bike from Borgo Panigale which I hadn’t swung a leg over and ridden in anger.
A Streetfighter 848 over a blue-blooded circuit scratcher like the Panigale on a classic Grand Prix circuit? You would think I must be joking but having ridden the Panigale superbike at the Yas Marina circuit earlier in the year during its global launch, I knew how good it was but life is all about experiencing new stuff and the 848 was a gap in the awareness I wanted to go and fill up.
As it transpired the next day, I knew that I was spot on in my choice of mount for sizzling Sepang! Having been drenched from head to toe thanks to the two-hour long cloud burst after the final race of the day at Sepang (not unusual for a tropical land), I was smiling like an idiot while all else were scurrying for cover!
I know that lightning doesn’t normally strike twice in the same place and felt comfortable that the next day would dawn sunny and clear! And further bolstered by the thought that the next day I would have the chance to ride alongside the riders who I marvelled at and worshipped some years ago as literal demigods, I knew that nature’s pre-event cleansing was apt!