ONBOARD VIDEO: Ducati 899 Panigale

Hot lapping in the cold rain at Imola. Traction control and rain tires rule!

I was particularly stoked when the boss selected me to attend the recent world press launch of the new 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale. I'm always fired up to test a race-bred Italian sportbike, but this trip would be extra cool because I'd never ridden the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, located in Imola, Italy.

While we all dream of sunny days and great traction, sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. Many manufacturers, in fact, will call it a day when rain falls, but leave it to the Italians to spoon on Pirelli rain tires and let us loose. That’s the spirit! And while the torrential downpour kept the track wet, it couldn’t put a damper on my three brief sessions aboard this new middleweight twin, whose Ducati Traction Control and Pirelli rain tires were impressive, to say the least. Check out the video: It shows one of the greatest wet-weather riding days I’ve ever had.

2014 Ducati 899 Panigale action shot in the rain