Kings of Cornering: Part Three

Massimo Bordi's bend basher

Continuing along the cornering theory that slim is king, you won’t be surprised to see that this nominee is a very narrow V-twin, or L-twin as Ducati insist on calling it.

Ducati’s 916 redefined superbike handling when it launched way back in ’94. Compared to the physically huge 888 that preceded it, the 916 combined the size of an RGV250 Suzuki with the stomp to equal the best superbikes around at the time. It was a heady brew.

It had a long and successful production run, too in both 916, 748 and latterly 996 and 998 variants until Ducati ruined the whole job with the visually challenged 999 and 749 models at the start of the noughties.

Any of these early, trellis-framed Desmos will reward the rider with searing corner entry speeds. The chassis also allows you to maintain this speed through the mid corner section right up the point where that famous Ducati grip-sniffing torque fires you out the other side.

It’s not the bike that launched Carl Fogarty onto the World scene (that was the 888) but it did make him a multiple World Champion and his mantra of ‘I carry a lot of corner speed, me’ speaks volumes about the 916’s abilities through the twisties. Try one, you’ll like it. The best of the bunch? The testastretta-engined 998, hands down.

Read Kings of Cornering: Part Four