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MV's new traction-controlled F4 (top) is a fantastically good motorcycle, injecting machismo and bravado in fast riders and slow. Ducati's 1198S Corse (above) is none too shabby, either.

Corse. Why? I wanted to make sure the other MasterBikers had nailed the setup.

The 1198S Corse offers lower bars and a more aggressive riding position than the : other Twin—the KTM. This meant I was leaning off and sighting down the side of the special-edition Due's graphics at the Pirelli front tire, DTC set to level 3 and working seamlessly. What incredible engineering art elevates the riding experience! Such a beautiful thing... But there were a couple of problems: When I transitioned the 1198S side to side in the backward baby Corkscrew—Turn 8 and Turn 9—there wasn't enough rebound damping and the rear felt like it was hopping off the ground, adding precious tenths to its lap time. Also, trying to get out of the wind on the back straight required my face to be down on the special factory-racer-style aluminum tank and a white-eyeball inspection of the steering damper while I watched for the red haze of the shift light on the inner curve of my faceshield.

On the other end of the straight, though, solid braking, a stable chassis and that booming engine on overrun (with a nice slipper clutch) made for audio-enhanced racetrack enjoyment. Sadly, footpeg position interfered with the Ducati's massive attainable lean angle and I ruined my boots—but I still enjoyed every tick of the 2:04.819 best lap.

During my four frantic fast laps on the MV Agusta F4, only the best and worst highlights of what made me fast or slow stand out. Rolling onto the track, I already felt a bit more over-the-front of the new F4 than on the previous 312 F4 I'd ridden a couple of years ago. I was a little distracted by the Agusta's beauty from the saddle until my rapidly escalating speed brought things back into focus. Sliding out to where the traction control (set on level 3 of 10) began to kick in made me think this MV must go to the same tailor as the Ducati; the system worked seamlessly as I felt it tempering traction of the Pirelli Supercorsa rear tire and keeping the F4 sliding along at an attack angle of about 10 degrees. This was an incredibly cool sensation, with that soft buffer of electro-magic keeping evil at bay. Tucked in, I had time to admire the levers and master cylinders before fanning the clutch on the F4—instead of shifting—between the right/left chicane leading to the back straight... I was in

MV's new traction-controlled F4 (top) is a fantastically good motorcycle, injecting machismo and bravado in fast riders and slow. Ducati's 1198S Corse (above) is none too shabby, either.

"Thirty-two laps down, four to go. The final bull for me to take by the horns was the Yamaha YZF-R1." S3

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