2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S: In Love In Marbella

“We believe this motorcycle must make the rider feel like a superhero. It must be a bike for Batman, for Superman,” thus spoke Stefano Tarabusi, Product Manager for Ducati, in the hushed chambers of the Vincci Selección Estrella del Mar Hotel in Marbella, Spain, introducing the 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S to an international audience of motorcycle journalists.

As Signor Tarabusi’s words sunk in, I realized this was much more than a press launch. I was being invited to join the elite cult of Diavelisti.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - David Morris
The Author

Images flashed on the presentation screen, led by a video entitled “So good to be bad.” To a heartbeat-like soundtrack, the Diavel and its black-clad rider swooped across a shape-shifting, twilight hypervertex of Baroque architecture, deserted streets, mountain roads, and molten lava.

Project Manager Eugenio Gherardi picked up the narrative, with illustrations of the Diavel from concept to clay model. “Some crazy ideas that came from our Design Center were the spark for this project. We wanted to create a bike that did not exist,” he said. “We looked at muscle cars, comic books, high tech, and blended all of this together. We said the result must be futuristic, not retro. It must have two souls—sophisticated yet bold.”

“We didn’t want ‘pure design,’” Gherardi continued. “We wanted the designers to work with the engineers and production people. There was collaboration with research and development from the beginning. Design was focused on performance. The team had to know about everything needed for the result to work.”

Why had I been summoned to this meeting? After all, I am an atypical motorcycle journalist. A passionate amateur, semi-retired management consultant, and inconsistent rider, fortunate to find my audience thanks to my esteemed editor and publisher, who enjoy my eccentric assessments and observations of two-wheeled wandering.

“Because this is the devil you know,” a voice answered from within.

The voice knew I had conducted a romance with Ducati going back three decades. I flashed back to 1990. I had acquired a gently used 1986 Paso 750 as my first motorcycle—a completely irrational act, spurred by my then-wife, a combustible Latina whose idea of casual wear was Moschino and/or Dolce&Gabbana.

“To be a real man,” she cooed, “You need to lift heavy weights and own an Italian motorbike.” To her delight, I followed her orders; to her dismay, I soon loved the Paso more than I loved her. Of course, both relationships ended in ignominy. My love-hate for the marque has persisted ever since.

So, here I was, a guest of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. in Borgo Panigale, Bologna and Ducati North America in Mountain View, California, enjoying first-class accommodation in Spain’s swanky Costa Del Sol. I felt the need to confess my sins, in order to be deserving of the invitation. I would soon get the chance.

A motorcycle is a confessional. Upon a motorcycle, we confess to our ultimate sin. The sin of narcissism. The narcissism of danger.

The high priests of Borgo Panigale know this. For the sinners who seek redemption through motorcycling, they give life to the creatures called Ducati. Creatures that are not mere machines, but kinetic sculpture— vehicles to move the soul.

And when winter devours six months of one’s life, the soul needs desperately to be moved. Ottawa, Canada, where I have lived for ten years, is on record as having the coldest winters among the world’s capital cities. Upon a March afternoon beset by ice pellets and wind gusts, the effervescence of Ultimate Motorcycling’s President Arthur Coldwells lighting up my iPhone came as necessary respite.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - David Morris Art #1
Art by The Author

“Do you fancy a trip to Spain to ride the new Diavel?” he chirped.

Did Arthur know how deeply my obsession with Ducati was ingrained? Did he know I could not possibly provide an objective account of the Diavel? The metaphors gushed from my imagination. A motorcycle that evokes the voluptuousness of Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci. A supercar on two wheels, made idiot-proof by the same ingenuity that makes Ducati a precision scalpel for uniquely gifted motorcycle racers like Andrea Dovizioso.

Another flashback came, fast and furious. The Paso 750 had been bought for me by a young real estate tycoon from New York City who wanted a wall-size mural in his Upper West Side apartment depicting him and two ladies in impossible contortions on his Ducati 851. He got his painting; I got my Paso.

In those days, Ducati ownership was both a statement of passion and acceptance of slavery. I wore the badge of the Ducatista with pride, knowing full well that almost every ride would lead me back to the perpetual embrace of my mechanic.

But every ride on the problematic Paso had been a symphony. Only a Ducati twin could make that music. I had forgiven the Paso its flaws and embraced its artistry created by the great Massimo Tamburini. I had forgotten how troublesome the carburetors were, or how the bodywork fasteners were impossible to replace. The Paso had delivered pleasure, even without me turning the key. And it had been exclusive. There had been few of us in Miami at that time riding motorcycle art, and I had been one of them.

But that was then, and this was March 19, 2019, the day of my departure to discover a new Ducati artwork. A package from Ducati North America had arrived, with Ducati riding gear to complement the splendid Bell Race Star Helmet I had received a few days prior. With barely time to try on the suave, branded leather jacket and Kevlar jeans, I stuffed my duffle bag and carry-on for a sprint to the airport, a hop to Detroit, an overnight flight to Paris, and onward to Spain, touching down in Málaga, with Marbella as the final destination.

As we flew across the ocean, doubts persisted. Was I deserving of this voyage? Had I forsaken my global view of motorcycle agnosticism for a gamble on reviving this romance with a glamorous Italian?

The headline of my itinerary said, The International Press Test of the 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S. I interpreted it as a mystical missive from Bologna, beckoning me to un ballo in maschera. An invitation to dance with the devil.

Day One: Malaga

Air Europa 6757 landed at El Aeropuerto de Málaga-Costa del Sol, commonly known as Aeropuerto Pablo Picasso, named for his birthplace. Time became like cubism. A fantasy of fusing myself, art, and machine accelerated. My needle was buried in the red zone. And yet, the ride was still 48 hours away.2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - lineup

Málaga’s history spans nearly 3000 years. It is the capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. With a population of just over a half-million, it is the southernmost large city in Europe. Situated on the Costa del Sol of the Mediterranean, Málaga is about 60 miles east of the Strait of Gibraltar and less than 100 miles north of Africa. All of these cultures, their traces still evident, converged in my mind as sunlight replaced the dull gray of the capital I had left behind.

The other passenger on the hotel transfer bus was a motorcycle magazine editor from California, also traveling to the Ducati launch. I asked about the road we would ride during the test. “Nothing too technical,” she shrugged. In California-speak, this meant a route far more challenging than my limited ability could ever manage.

I glimpsed the streets of Málaga. A Ducati and a Harley-Davidson rode together, mixing with four- and two-wheeled traffic, the mountains and the Mediterranean as a backdrop. My kind of town, I thought.

We checked in at the Mariposa Hotel in Málaga. My jet lag evaporated. My Spanish suddenly became operational. The young receptionist returned my “Hola” with Gypsy eyes. I parked my bag, and set off to sample the narrow streets and broad squares.

The sensory feast was everywhere. The silhouette of the Ferris wheel by the Plaza de la Marina and the ships in the harbor. The irreverent street art cohabiting with historic and contemporary architecture. Flirting with a shopgirl. Gliding down the red carpet along the Calle Marqués de Larios commemorating the film festival in progress. I was overcome by melancholy. Because I knew I was not here to ride a motorcycle, but to heal myself.

Dinner at La Ménsuela II that evening was chaired by Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock, who seamlessly moderated the group while fielding text messages from Mountain View and Bologna. The collection of charming brigands who had come from North America to ride and write, dove into the vast succession of delicacies brought with gusto from the chef. The banquet including Iberian ham, squid carpaccio, mussels, and braised goat, was washed down with free-flowing wine, and finished with the local digestif—chilled, sloe-flavored Pacharán, probably homemade.

Discussion about Ducati turned to its former World Superbike champion from the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Doug Polen. It was agreed that Polen had largely made Ducati’s name in America, at a time when many had written off the brand. I still have the Polen t-shirt I had worn beneath my leathers back when I was riding the Paso.

A veteran moto-scribe and screenwriter reminded all in attendance that “Doug Polen once told me the secret of winning was to take all the emotion out of riding. Race the motorcycle according to the laws and logic of physics. And he could put the motorcycle exactly where he wanted it, every lap, every time.” As a salute to that logic, Pacharán was poured and avidly consumed.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - David Morris Art #3
Art by The Author

Chinnock gathered the troops for a nightcap and tour. Declining with the excuse that an elder statesman such as myself would only slow up the pack, I retired to the hotel where I did my best to quell the rising tide of emotions.

At sunrise, my daily run took me along the Paseo de los Curas to the harbor and the Mediterranean. I noted the signs offering apartments and decided I would retire here, to make my own art. And, of course, ride a Ducati every day. Fate willing.

Day Two: Marbella

Even if Málaga had not seduced me first, Marbella would be my complete undoing. Nestled in a leafy community of traditional villa-style dwellings hugging the ocean, Marbella is a destination for the who’s who. We were welcomed by The Vincci Selección Estrella del Mar Hotel, its gardens, spa, pool, and beach club promising all the pampering one could desire.

Some 20 Diavels were lined up in the hotel driveway, in preparation for the grand ride. Ducati flags fluttered. We got the VIP treatment. The sleek concierge whisked my bags up to the room and saluted me with a “Muchas gracias, Caballero.”

After a siesta, I wandered downstairs and sat on the steps of the hotel. Fabriano sketchbook in hand, I admired the Diavel lineup. The light turned to liquid gold. My litho crayon on the paper made faint sounds as my eyes caressed the bodywork. The invocation awakened the she-devil inside the Diavel I was drawing. She emerged, curious to see who this stranger was. I held my breath as she examined the portraits I had made. “So. You think you are going to ride me?” she asked. And then she laughed.

Talking about the Devil: Interview with Ducati North America CEO Jason Chinnock

The Public Relations Manager from Ducati North America, Alex Frantz, had arranged for a one-on-one that afternoon with Jason Chinnock about the business side of Ducati. We conversed in the courtyard, accompanied by the breeze from the Mediterranean.

A youthful under-50 born in Las Vegas, Chinnock was appointed in January 2016 as Chief Executive Officer of Ducati’s North American operations. Having made the lateral move from parent company Audi’s Lamborghini division, he knows the realities of marketing luxury to the discerning client.

Chinnock’s profile in the Los Angeles Times last October described his career as “a wildly circuitous route to one of the motorcycle industry’s most coveted corner offices, including stints as a touring rock musician, Desert Storm tank pilot and marketing director for Lamborghini.”

He offered his take on our questions about Ducati now, where it wants to be, and what role the Diavel plays in the product portfolio.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - Chinnock right side
Ducati NA CEO Jason Chinnock

David Morris: Marketing today focuses on a combination of demographics and psychographics called ‘personae’. Who is the ideal Diavel customer persona?

Jason Chinnock: We don’t play into demographics, because we see that as short-sighted. When we examined the psychographic behavior of previous Ducati owners, we realized that our marketing was somewhat gender-heavy towards a male audience, so we’ve tried to broaden our message.

Certainly, the Diavel customer is confident, a self-starter, with more than a little bit of ego. They want to be seen. They want a motorcycle that reflects intelligence and sophistication rather than brute power. When I ride the Diavel, I find it awakens and empowers a dormant side of my character. I hope our customers have a similar experience.

Ducati is a brand that gives people a visceral connection. This is entertainment. This is your musical instrument. You create the buzz. So, it’s important that the bike doesn’t overwhelm you, but allows you to express your personality and creativity as a rider.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - Chinnock #3
Ducati NA CEO Jason Chinnock

DM: How is Ducati leveraging its traditional brand perception while expanding its footprint?

JC: With Ducati, it’s about how ‘we’ do it, rather than conforming to a category. In creating the Diavel, we offer more than just the standard cruiser. Our philosophy goes beyond a product; it’s about Ducati as a community.

With this 2019 model being the first major refresh in five years, we retain our current customers who might be looking, for example, to migrate from our superbike, while maintaining the distinctive Ducati flavor. Similarly, we give the current cruiser customer an alternative that is a little more understated, yet satisfies their desire, both in terms of overall performance and ‘has to be seen’ factor.

I believe the Diavel is one of the best motorcycles we’ve ever built, and it’s what I’m riding as my personal bike this year.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - Jason Chinnock headon
Ducati NA CEO Jason Chinnock

DM: What role does the Diavel play in Ducati’s overall company strategy?

JC: While understanding that buying a motorcycle goes beyond the rational, we know today’s customer is conscious of making a smart decision. We have to continually prove our relevance to them. We give them ongoing opportunities to engage, physically, and virtually, with bespoke events to help enhance their connection to the brand.

These include Ducati Island at the MotoGP races around the globe, the Ducati Enduro Riding Experience, our Ducati-branded apparel. As we grow our portfolio, Ducati also knows we need to raise the unaided awareness of the brand. Our studies show there’s still a lot of work for us to do in that area; that’s good news because it means there are many people who haven’t yet discovered Ducati. Whether they want to go off-road, urban adventuring, touring, or racing, Ducati should be on their radar. And we want our dealers to have a range that is profitable for them. We don’t make a bike like the Diavel as a halo product, just to drive showroom traffic. The Diavel has a clear commercial objective: to define its own segment, and to lead it.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - David Morris Art #3
Art by The Author

Somewhat demurely, I showed Jason my drawings. He smiled.

The Press Conference

Following the welcome cocktail hour at Baraka, the hotel’s excellent restaurant that would provide our repasts for the next few days, we assembled in the darkened spaces of the makeshift conference area, where Diavels and Ducati apparel posed on pedestals. Tarabusi and Gherardi held court as we absorbed their multimedia presentations.

When asked about the origin of the Diavel name, Gherardi provided an anecdote. “We were all wondering about, what should we call the bike, and someone said, ‘Diavel!’ which is Bolognese slang for devil,” he explained, “because it looks like a devil. And if you look at the shape of the headlight, you can see the devil’s face.”

The genesis of the motorcycle and its technical specifications were covered in detail. “We did not do a facelift,” Tarabusi explained. “The 2019 Diavel is a completely new bike.”

Gherardi enumerated the highlights. “The 1262 Testastretta twin-cylinder DVT engine featured in the previous iteration, the XDiavel, has been upgraded to optimize performance. In the S version, you have Ducati Quick Shift up and down Evo (DQS) for clutchless shifting. Another change is that the engine has become the core of the bike from a style standpoint. The chassis set-up employs a new tubular steel Trellis frame with an aluminum swingarm. The 240mm wide rear wheel with a 17-inch diameter, remains the hallmark of the Diavel. And once again, Pirelli has designed a tire specifically for the Diavel, the Rosso III.”

“We also developed new control systems and algorithms based on those used by the Ducati Corse racing team,” Gherardi continued. “This two-strategy algorithm ensures the ability for the owner to personalize the settings, and makes the Diavel smooth and safe for enhanced riding pleasure. We have also taken significant steps to reduce the cost of ownership, with longer service intervals and an emphasis on reliability.”

Tarabusi summarized the dissertation. “This is the culmination of eight years of development. From the beginning, we have intended for this to be a disruptor, to reshape the category. This is not a superbike. It is not a cruiser. It is Diavel.”2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - right profile

Day Three: The Ride

Refreshed by my opulent surroundings, I rose with the morning sun. The clay tile floors of the room were cool. Donning the splendid Ducati leather jacket, trousers, and high-top boots, I pulled on the Bell helmet. I checked myself in the mirror. I was ready for the ballo in maschera, or so I thought. It was time to reconcile my fantasy and the need to live in the present moment.

The night before over dinner, Gherardi had confided, “Everything we do, we must do with a passion.” I suggested that as Ducati now had the financial stability that had been in question in previous times, the engineers and designers were free to create a motorcycle that fulfilled the promise of its looks. His response was a thoughtful expression.

In the driveway, I joined the other members of the North American delegation. Each one of us received a numbered key fob. Mine was 16, and that was exactly how I felt—an adolescent about to ask an impossibly beautiful woman to dance.

The Diavel that would be my partner for the morning ride taunted me—125 miles of tarmac I had never seen before. There would be no turning back. Adrenaline had to be my nitrous oxide. I had to ride the road within myself, to wherever it led. And accept the consequences.

“Who has granted you permission to sit upon my saddle?” she whispered. I heard Sophia Loren in my mind, playing the duchess in a DeSica film. I became Marcello Mastroianni, her would-be suitor, in truth a peasant who somehow snuck onto the palace grounds. If I showed my weakness, the masquerade would be over.

2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - David Morris Art #2
Art by The Author

I imagined the snickering from the aristocrats of the moto-journal world in attendance. The duchess from Emilia-Romagna sniffed, “Foolish man. You are nothing until my engine has been started. Prepare yourself for a ride beyond your capabilities. Perhaps beyond your courage.”

One by one, the engines were fired up. The chorus of Testastretta DVT 1262 powerplants was like voices soaring in a Puccini opera. Elation and anxiety enveloped me in equal measure. I had been invited to the gathering of Diavelisti. And the riding ritual would determine if I would be accepted into the fold.

Of course, I managed to stall the bike, as everyone else pulled out in crisp fashion. Frustrated at first by my error, I recovered and assumed my rightful position as backmarker, trundling through the side streets while my colleagues surged ahead.

The Diavel reassured me with a balance that belied its 538-pound curb weight, and the familiar torque of the L-twin that provided power even when barely ticking over.

Once underway, my new companion became more accommodating. The clutch and brake controls were finely tuned and responsive. The saddle was lush, the riding position natural. We threaded our way through the town and out onto the motorway. I twisted the throttle. The road became a velvet carpet. We zoomed past the cars and trucks without a care. The morning wind thumped my chest. My heart was filled with glorious song from the Diavel exhaust. The sun gilded the day. What could be better than flying at ground level on the Costa Del Sol?2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - right 3/4

The contingent stopped on the shoulder for a last check, as the outriders made their tally of the group and barked instructions to the leaders. I remembered Valentino Rossi speaks to his motorcycle before a race. I did the same, running my hands along the stealth grey body.

The outrider interrupted my tryst with a caution. “Stefano will be your lead. Don’t take any risks.” Sure enough, Tarabusi had taken me under his wing to ensure my sojourn with the Diavel would succeed. It was a kindness I could not have expected.

We exited the motorway at the junction for our prescribed route—highway A397—which snaked into the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves.

I was clearly the imposter at this ballo in maschera, as the Diavelisti danced with their own devils on ribbons of tarmac wound around the mountains. Each hairpin became a pirouette, every downhill sweeper a pas de deux for them.

In my eyes, this was a road that did not forgive the unwary. In my spirit self, Andalusia was the chasm I was crossing from the past into the future. My steel princess spoke to me, calming my fears. She stepped with sureness, curve after curve, kilometer after kilometer, advising me to forget the others and breathe in the magnificence I might never see again.

I wanted to run away with her. I wanted to know Lady Diavel intimately, to spend weeks and months together, to understand everything she could do, to go places where no one could interrupt us. Her rebuttal was firm: “Forget everything except this road. We ride it together, or we ride not at all.”

Up 3000 feet above sea level, the mountain range called the Sierra de las Nieves offered such magnificence I just wanted to stop and let my jaw fall out of my face. Lady Diavel would have none of it, urging me to keep the throttle steady. Up ahead, Tarabusi signaled me with a thumbs up as he and his mount flowed effortlessly along the route.

We pulled into the gravel parking lot of a mountainside café. The Diavel which had felt so much lighter than its 500+ pounds, was suddenly a handful. I dismounted and fortified myself with a cortado before setting out again. Now I knew why highway A397 was famous. Now I knew how fortunate I was to be aboard a machine more intelligent than I. And to have the ride of a lifetime.

The ascent resumed. I thought I saw a gathering of storm clouds tickle the mountain tops. And then they came: a horde of Diavelisti, thundering down from the sky, their engines bellowing like the gods. They whooshed past and disappeared. I dared not look back.

It dawned on me that I had used none of the Diavel’s electronic aids, or that perhaps they were working surreptitiously. I had never known a motorcycle like this one, and I could appreciate how far Ducati has come in the 30 years since we had made our first acquaintance.

What would have never even been considered, let alone invented during my stint with the 1986 Paso 750, was now a laundry list of Ducati Safety Pack technical advances on the Diavel 1260 S’s spec sheet, from Wheelie Control Evo to Bosch Cornering ABS Evo. But back then, the mobile phone was the size of a brick, and the Internet was a secret. I felt ancient.

As for the notion that the Diavel was designed to disrupt the cruiser segment, I asked myself, “Could one go mountain-climbing in Brugnoli shoes?” The answer was clear. If Brugnoli made shoes for mountain climbing, you could climb any mountain in style. That was precisely the point Messrs. Tarabusi, Gherardi, and Chinnock had been making—that the Diavel would transport you on any road in style. If you were up to it.

Having lost sight of my companions, I soldiered on as Stefano patiently waited for me to catch up. The group had already arrived at Cortijo Capellanía, just outside the Parque Natural Sierra de las Nieves. This 400-year old Andalusian farmhouse, restored with luxurious rooms for 18 people as an aerie in an exceptional landscape, was the setting for another memorable meal.

Advising my hosts that I was done for the day, I elected to ride back with the Ducati crew by car to Marbella. It was the wise choice. Lady Diavel was taken away, and rejoined the Diavelisti for their return to Vincci Selección Estrella del Mar. It was clear La Duchessa di Diavel was made for someone who could push her to limits and beyond.

On the journey back, the conversation with Giulio Fabbri from the Bologna contingent and DNA’s Alex Frantz explored the subject of why Ducati is unique. Giulio explained that “it is because we are from the region of Emilia Romagna. In ancient time, we were always looked down upon by the other city-states, so we had to fight to prove ourselves. That is why, for example, we produce the best motorcycle racers, like Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso.”

I admired this spontaneous declaration of pugnaciousness and pride. Our talk turned from motorcycles to history, music, food, and love—all subjects in which Italians invest themselves with unlimited energy.

The epiphany of this journey, then, was not the motorcycle itself. It was meeting the people behind the brand, and hearing each of their unique stories of why they are passionate about Ducati and the Diavel. As the eminent novelist and critic John Berger observed, “Riding a motorbike has nothing to do with speed. It is an intense experience of psychic and physical freedom.”2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 S - For Sale

The Devil in the details: how Ducati intends to deliver on its promise

Having heard Ducati North America’s vision articulated by its CEO, we did a deeper dive post-event, to find out how DNA plans to make that vision operational. With over a decade of motorcycle industry experience as a technician, trainer and Ducati service area manager, as well as crew member for Ducati’s winning team at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Ducati North America’s newly minted Public Relations Manager Alex Frantz spoke with me.

David Morris: What is DNA doing to continuously improve the dealer-to-customer value chain?

Alex Frantz: We have implemented a very strong approach to our network development strategy to ensure we have a dealer network empowered to deliver the highest customer experience possible. This is done by having passionate, business-minded proprietors that have made the investments into the facility, training, and tools necessary to live up to the expectation of a premium Italian brand.

DM: How about questions of financing and resale value for Ducati motorcycles?

AF: We’ve also worked with our colleagues at Ducati Financial Services to launch the Ducati Premier financing program. It provides low monthly payments to the rider, paying the depreciation of the bike, which in turn provides the dealer with a great pre-owned bike three to four years later. When our motorcycles and customers stay within our network, we protect the residual values and improve the cycle of ownership. This allows easy access to the brand, and confidence for those wanting to always have the newest Ducati.”

DM: What is happening to grow the family of Ducatisti, for example with events, rider training, apparel and more?

AF: In terms of experiences, in addition to the well-established Ducati Island events at both MotoGP and World Superbike, we are also adding complementary events such as All Roads Lead to Pikes Peak, an owner rally. This is focused on the touring rider, to celebrate, and follow, our challenge to the record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

With the goal of encouraging new ridership, we’ve launched a program that will provide a reimbursement covering most of the cost of a state-accredited new rider training program. With models like the Monster 797 and the Scrambler 800, we have proven to attract a new rider that won’t outgrow the bike in a few years. In fact, we see many of the Scrambler owners keeping their Scrambler and adding a larger bike to their garage a couple of years later. We have other training programs, soon to be announced, for the more experienced rider to learn to get the most out of their Ducati ownership.

Ducati’s apparel and accessory brands have always been a strong part of the ownership experience that is backed by the same two-year, unlimited miles warranty as our motorcycles. With both technical and lifestyle apparel, we ensure our riders are well protected as well as look good both on and off the bike. Ducati Performance accessories are developed with the same strict standards as our OEM parts, and go through a series of testing to allow them to make it into our catalog. We stand behind them with our warranty that covers both the part and labor.”

DM: What about the cost of ownership and service concerns?

AF: We’ve also addressed the cost of Ducati ownership and service, with a two-year, unlimited miles factory warranty on our new models. This provides the rider a peace of mind that they can traverse the planet with confidence. The majority of our models now have 18,000 miles between major service intervals, that’s three times more than it was 15 years ago. This allows the rider to spend more time riding and building up their bike, instead of maintaining it. We’ve also required transparent maintenance schedules to be posted in our dealer’s service departments for our customers to see what is done, and the frequency.”

Epilogue: Falling In Love With The Devil

 Full disclosure—peg-scraping and knee-dragging are not part of my riding repertoire. My focus is a balanced equation where motorcycle, human, road, and landscape blend with maximum pleasure and minimum drama. Let others demonstrate their velocity and virtuosity. In my world, satisfaction equals escaping the confines of the office, the automobile and the charade of normal life. Alone on an open highway, with a throb of engine and howl of wind, I find bliss. The only companion I need is the metal steed.

The Ducati Diavel 1260 S immediately endeared itself to me as an ideal companion. Exuding refinement, intelligence, and sensuality, it is not for the neophyte. With all the technology it encompasses, it invites long term commitment from the rider who wants a motorcycle for every road.

The Diavel 1260 S turned my sense of motorcycle logic inside out. With all motorcycles I have owned, I have felt respect for their engineering, admired their style, and learned to ride better, because they were all better than me. They were friends with whom I forged a solid bond as a motorcyclist.

But riding the Diavel, I felt love. Love I had not felt for 30 years since my first Ducati.

I fell in love. Hopelessly, illogically in love with this bombshell from Bologna. If a contract had been put in front of me, I would have signed my soul away for this devil. I would sell everything I owned, pick up my Diavel at the factory, motor back to Malaga, ensconce myself in an apartment with a view of the harbor. And I would draw. I would dream. I would ride. With the devil I know.

Photography by Alberto Cervetti, Jesús Robledo + Milagro