I’ve ridden Losail before, on the Fireblade SP launch a few years ago. I was confident I knew my way round well enough and rolled down pit lane on a slick-shod H2 like I owned the place. Turn one is a long lazy 180 degree right-hander, just before the apex I went to pick up the gas. At that point, I pretty much pissed my pants. The drive was so ginormous and instant that I nigh on jumped off like I’d been tazed. Torque, like no other bike I’ve ever ridden, flowed from throttle hand to rear tyre in a millisecond. It wasn’t fueling poorly, it wasn’t snatchy as such, there was just so much more of what I was used to that I spent the first two laps with eyes the size of dinner plates staring at my hand each time I wound on some gas, just to make sure I wasn’t being a dick and unknowingly sticking the thing on the stop. I wasn’t and this bike just got awesome. Through the right-left-right-right flick in the middle of the track, the weight of the bike was obvious, but not an issue. You don’t ride this bike thinking it’s like a ZZR or a Hayabusa, you ride it thinking it’s like a ZX-10R or a GSX-R and that’s a good thing. Round the last right hander in third gear, eyes burning a dot on the hazy horizon, I went for the stop and hoped that I was about to experience everything I’d imagined in the few months since finding out I was on this trip.