Just like the Yamaha R1 the Ducati takes a lot of setting up to get it to work around the track. You need to get it on its nose so it'll steer well enough to change direction and hold a line. It also needs lots more damping to control the weaves and wobbles initiated by the instant power delivery of the V-twin engine and provide the stability to control the dive caused by the fierce Brembo Monobloc brakes.
Properly set up it's a wonderful track bike. You feel perched up high and it's a long way down to get your knee down. It's still slow-steering, too especially compared to the R Blade and ZX-10R.
At first the Ducati feels clumsy and unnatural around such a tight track and the instant power delivery too snatchy, but when you're hard-charging trying to chase someone, the T1198S changes completely. Ridden by the scruff of its neck the Ducati is amazing.
The Yamaha R1 is happiest at full lean, where it's so stable. It loves high-speed corners and punches out of slow ones in a bass-happy frenzy of mono-wheeling majesty. At full throttle it's a cacophony of induction roar and hot metallic violence. With traction control set on the middle level four, it kicks in coming out of slow-speed corners, especially on cold or worn tyres. It lets you get on with it on the faster sections of the track, but because you know your electronic friend is there to help you, you tease the throttle more than you would do normally to run breath-taking corner speeds.
VERDICT: For the first time a road-going Ducati can compete with its Japanese 1000cc rivals on track - although it's taken advanced electronics, an 1198cc motor, top-shelf suspension, lightweight wheels and a giddy price tag to achieve it. On a more flowing circuit with fewer tighter corners, the Ducati might have beaten the Kawasaki ZX-10R, but would still struggle against the Yamaha, which is 15:1.5 seconds faster here.