Then there’s that moment. The moment where the only person who can hear and feel your excitement is you…


Taking to a track that you’ve never been on before, on a motorcycle that’s foreign to you is much like the kid’s game Connect the Dots.

Prematurely, you try to make out the figure that will shortly appear on the page. You might even spend more energy on it than you need too.

At first, it seems disjointed and abstract. But as you use the ballpoint of the pen, take your time, and obediently draw lines from one number to the next, those lines will commence shape.

Aaaaah, so that’s what it is… It turns from angular to organic.

You stop trying to predict the silhouette on the page because you just go with the flow. You trust the numbers. You make a shape. That shape manifests as your first lap of the Adria International Raceway, a circuit northeast of Bologna in Italy.

Your ‘writing’ tool?

The Ducati 899 Panigale.

While you’re trying to get your footing around the sinuous curves of the track, you have to remember to breathe, relax and focus. In no particular order. After all, when the light turns green and it’s your turn to head out and master your skills and your bike, those three things will come in very handy.

Ducati’s Riding Experience (DRE) is open to all those who are looking to hone their motorcycling abilities from some incredible riders and teachers. A mixture of theory and practical application helps participants understand why you need to do the things you do, and then do them!

To get your feet wet, they don’t just hand you keys to the bike, show you to the raceway and say, “Have fun.” Though, that would be fun, in a stressful kind of way! – Slow speed skills are assessed and coaches are on hand to give you some pointers.

The next day of the 2-day Racing Level 1 program is a long day; a day that’s filled with ups and downs. Ups because the nemesis corner has now become your greatest strength. Downs because you just want to get better and better but you’re feeling so tired. And want just one more lap around the track to prove to yourself you can do it better.

With the sun beating down on you, it’s a blessing and a curse. It makes for amazing track conditions, but it does get mighty warm inside a one-piece leather racing suit. But hey, it’s worth every drop of sweat.

Then there’s that moment. The moment where the only person who can hear and feel your excitement is you. For riders, the first time you drag your knee in a corner is a memorable experience. It’s your first and will forever be. I had my first at this track and it was glorious.

That wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the encouragement of both my instructor and the Panigale. With its smooth revving Superquadro L-Twin, liquid cooled, 898 cc engine has both the grunt and purr to help you get quicker and quicker.

The 6-speed transmission with DQS (Ducati Quick Shift) allows you to upshift with an open throttle, helping you get up to speed on the straight stretch. And twin discs up front and one in the rear, get you slowed down in a flash for the left-hand turn after the straight.

As the adrenaline pumps through your veins did you remember to breath, relax and focus?

Maybe next lap!

The certificate that’s handed to you with your name on at the end of the day is evidence of a job well done.  It represents the effort you put into developing your confidence on two wheels and the strength it took, both physically and mentally, to get through it all in one piece.

And after a fulfilling, educational and uplifting experience, you know can breathe, relax and focus on the next adventure. Wherever that may be.

For more information on the Ducati Riding Experience program, click here.

Visit for more information on the 899 Panigale.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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