Test rode the whole Ducati line quite a few times. Other than my Hyo having a heavy frame and wheels, it easily competes with the base monster. Brakes and center of gravity on a Duc easily out performs the Hyo. But raw power isn't up to my standard. The day I Dyno'd my Comet at Ducati of Seattle and saw it put out the exact same power figure and a better power curve then the 696 Monster, I got a lot less drooly over a Duc. My favorite Duc's are the Monster 1100S and Hypermotard, I'd take a Multistrada any day.
I like the CBR600RR, Daytona 675 or an MV Agusta F3. But they aren't on my list of next bikes.
Right now it's either going to be a Brutale 675 or Street Triple R that will be sharing the garage with the Comet.