2017 DUCATI SUPERSPORT
I don’t ride motorcycles but if I did, I’d ride a Ducati. Italian bred, they are works of art – powerful pieces of sculptural engineering that even to those who may never straddle one, are just plain sexy.
I’ve been on some pretty awesome press trips, and would have dreamed to be invited to Seville, Spain to test the new 2017 Ducati SuperSport, recently awarded the title of “Most Beautiful Bike” at the prestigious EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, Italy. Lucky for distinguished writer and long time motorcycle aficionado Jake Bright, he got to go. Thrown in with some of racing’s best, his love of motorcycle riding clicked back into gear speeding around the track and through the Spanish countryside…
“LA VELOCE VITA”
by Jake Bright
The world starts to resemble an impressionist painting while tucked under the windscreen of a Ducati at 140mph. That’s where I found myself recently, clad in full leather gear on Spain’s Circuito Monteblanco race track. Only minutes prior, I had not ridden a motorcycle for several years. Days earlier I was on the frigid U.S. East Coast without even a helmet.
That was before Ducati’s invitation to the international press test for their 2017 SuperSport in Seville. After confirming my riding background, the Italian motorcycle company booked me on the trip. I’d originally connected with Ducati to do a short story on the new bike. I don’t usually write on motorcycles, but maintain a passion for them dating back to grade school. I started riding motocross with my dad at nine and continued on the streets through high school and college. Pops was a bit like the Mr. Miyagi of motorbikes, employing many tests and drills to teach me to ride fast from a young age, under a mantra of “respect the power” to stress the proper balance of speed and control.
Unfortunately, motorcycling faded for me as I got deeper into a big city career. Writing on Ducati’s new wonder machine — my thinking went — was a step toward bikes again, never imagining it would lead to riding a SuperSport in Spain.
THE AUTHOR ON THE SUPERSPORT, KITTED OUT IN DUCATI AND DAINESE GEAR
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Arriving in Seville, I met the rest of the test squad before we hit road and track the next day. If there was an odd-man out it was me. The crew had deep professional motorcycling resumes. There was Sport Rider’s Tom Montano, who’d posted a top 10 finish in the Isle of Man TT — a race infamous for sections where street bikes jump through the air at 150mph. Moto Journal’s Guy Caron was a Canadian ice racing champion. Testing motorcycles had become such an everyday job for Cycle World’s Sean McDonald, his name was embroidered on his track suit like a uniform.
It had been so long since I rode regularly that I didn’t even have proper gear. Luckily Ducati took care of that, kitting me up head-to-toe with a new Dainese two piece leather suit, protective gear, boots, and a Ducati helmet and gloves.
The night before testing, Ducati unveiled the 2017 SuperSport at a private event. Lead engineer Giuseppe Caprara and product manager Paolo Quattrino walked through how they matched the 113 horsepower motorcycle’s specs and design. Ducati has a racing legacy and balancing performance with style is something of a company hallmark. It’s why I’ve always admired their bikes. In classic Italian fashion, Ducati’s competition inspired machines resemble a merger of brilliant motorcycle engineering and Sophia Loren. That’s how I’ve viewed them, anyway. Ducati engines also have a signature sound ― something akin to a lion’s purr ― that adds to their overall allure. The SuperSport does not disappoint. It’s an elegant bike with a lot of impressive tech features that make it fast, accessible, versatile, and racy.
After our track sessions, where I received riding tips from Ducati’s renowned test pilot Alessandro Valia, we headed out for the road run ― an 80 mile tour through the Andalusia region marked by hills, rivers, and farmland. Twenty of us, led by Ducati’s marshals, became a roaring streak of bright red motorcycles flying through the Spanish countryside. In small towns, such as Berrocal and La Aulaga, children stopped to wave and cheer us on.
On the last section of the ride ― as the late afternoon sun set in ― a Ducati marshal and I became separated from the pack. He gave chase and we took off racing through a winding section of the Andalusian hills, before descending onto the Spanish countryside at well over 100 miles per hour. There are times on a motorcycle where mind, body, and machine become intuitively synchronized. It’s something I hadn’t experienced in years. Riding Ducati’s SuperSport at speed brought me back to that harmony under clear Spanish skies.