Ducati's all-new, water-cooled, 2013 Hypermotard is currently being put through its paces in southern Spain by MCN Senior Road Tester Michael Neeves. Here are his first impressions:
"It's track this morning on the £11,850 SP version and road this afternoon on the £9950 standard bike. Both will be available from dealers next month.
"The new motor is a long stroke version of the old 796 with water cooling and four valves. It makes 110bhp, which is more than both the old 1100 and 796 Hypermotards it replaces. It also has a new chassis and a 16-litre fuel tank, replacing the stingy old 12-litre item.
"The steering is less aggressive, it's comfier and comes with ABS, traction control and riding modes, thanks to a new ride-by-wire system. There's bigger front brake discs and new Monobloc calipers and the whole bike weighs 175kg, only three kilos more than the old one, despite the water jacket and new electronics. The SP version, meanwhile, has Marzocchi forks, an Ohlins rear shock, carbon trinkets and weighs 171kg.
"The bars no longer slap in your hands and you're not sat so far forward that it's like looking over the edge of a cliff, like the old Hypermotard, but it's still an unashamed light, agile, punchy supermoto that's born to wheelie.
"The power delivery and throttle response are lovely and smooth and the Ducati gets a lick on when you pin it through the gears. It doesn't have the grunt of the old 1100 - there's no substitute for cubes – but it's still got enough punch to make you giggle. ABS will be brilliant on the road and you can turn it down through the riding modes so you can skid the back wheel.
"It's still very narrow focussed - a Sunday plaything to wheelie for a few hours – but the bigger tank and comfier seat will let you do longer distances than before. Plus there's a Hyperstrada touring version coming soon, which I'm really excited about. The build quality and finish is top notch, too.
"Read my full review in next Wednesday's MCN!"