Disclaimer #1: No, I despite how much I'd love it, I don't work, nor am not being paid by Ducati. I don't receive any special compensation from them other than being a very fortunate owner of one of their superbikes and a grateful recipient of their genuine hospitality and camaraderie. But I'll admit that my cynical ass would probably wonder ‘ is this whole "X to Y on an Italian Supermodel" thing just a deceptively clever ‘reality marketing’ strategy on behalf of Ducati?'. If all of this had been architected in advance, it would be a clever move. But it is not so. Now if Ducati wanted to hand a legal-sized white envelope to me stuffed with cash (I'd actually prefer a larger manila envelope) to pontificate about their company and their bikes, I could be convinced to meet in dark alleys at midnight. But ‘tis not the case. So until then, please PM me if you know of anyone needing software to help their company comply with 21 CFR Part 11 so I can keep words on the page, gas in the tank and rubber on the road.
Disclaimer #2: I don't like the idea of other people's bikes. I always feel as though if I'm going to crash, it's going to be on a bike not my own. That's just the way the hairy hands of fate operate. But I’m an addict who cannot resist the temptation of twisting the throttle of any bike, so out I set on this particularly pristine Ducati-owned Diavel reminding myself to, well, not do anything stupid. That meant no running over banana peels, no riding off of cliffs, no parking under Acme Anvils suspended by pulleys and no riding down any street in which men dressed like Mario or Luigi are moving panes of glass. And of course, on my bike or any other: in the event a Mentos theme song can be heard, safely pull to the right, kill the ignition and, with gloved fist, punch in the face anyone with a beaming smile and bleach-white teeth.
With that said I climbed aboard, and immediately felt like a moron. I couldn't figure out how to fire the beast up (after confidently stating I didn't need a primer on any of the controls). Being keyless (electrics are activated when the key is 6’ from the bike) I, err, did need some instruction. Instead of a push of a starter, there’s a red trigger-switch like button on the right bar that is pushed downward, which felt remarkably like a weapons system had been activated. Simple, cool.
The riding position of the Diavel is definitely more outlaw-hooligan and less MotoGP. In fact, I felt a lot like Mr. Grimm from Twisted Metal. All I needed was a chainsaw and instructions on how to launch the Diavel's rockets. To Highway 9 I went worrying about Needles Kane more than banana peels, driving in a manner that was a little less prudent than I anticipated and a little more like: