1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM

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Lot 651N
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM

£ 40,000 - 60,000
US$ 52,000 - 78,000
To be sold without reserve
Amended
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. DM542DM
Engine no. DM542DM
• Believed to have raced in World Championship events
• Purchased for the Morbidelli Museum in the early 1990s
• Rebuilt in the Morbidelli Museum's workshop

Its senior management having decided that racing success was the best way to promote the fledgling manufacturer, Ducati recruited engineer Fabio Taglioni, formerly with Ceccato and Mondial, to oversee its racing and development programmes. Commencing work in May 1954, Taglioni designed the first of Ducati's now legendary sporting singles: the 98cc Gran Sport, nicknamed 'Marianna', which made its racetrack debut in 1955. The Gran Sport's overhead cam was driven by a vertical shaft and bevel gears, and this method was carried over to Ducati's 125cc twin-cam (bialbero) and triple-cam (trialbero) racers, the latter featuring Taglioni's famous 'desmodromic' method of valve actuation that dispensed with springs.

The first significant development of Taglioni's original design arrived early in 1956 in the form of a massive twin-cam (bialbero) cylinder head, which retained the exposed hairpin valve springs of the single-cam motor. Producing 16bhp, almost double the output of the 98cc Gran Sport, this new engine went into cycle parts that were essentially unchanged apart from the adoption of a more powerful double-sided front brake, a move necessitated by the bialbero's greatly increased speed. Campaigned by the factory on a limited basis and offered for sale to privateers, the bialbero was merely a stepping stone on the way to Taglioni's final refinement of his original single-cylinder design – the desmodromic trialbero – which made its spectacularly successful race debut at the Swedish Grand Prix in July 1956 when works rider Degli Antoni lapped the entire field on his way to victory.

Antoni's untimely death in August 1956 was a major setback for Ducati's plans, and it would be 1958 before they mounted another serious challenge at World Championship level. Having hitherto relied on single-cylinder designs for the 125 class, Ducati introduced a 125 twin at Monza in 1958, the final round of that year's World Championship. Although the Ducati 125s proved capable of winning Grands Prix (three in 1958 and one in 1959, all by trialbero singles), they lacked the consistency to challenge the dominant MVs for World Championship honours. And when the Japanese manufacturers arrived en masse in the early 1960s, bringing multi-cylinder technology to the lightweight classes, the writing seemed well and truly on the wall for the European opposition.

This Ducati bialbero 125 dates from 1956 and is believed to have raced in World Championship events. The machine was purchased for the Morbidelli Museum in the early 1990s and has been restored by Giancarlo Morbidelli.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Please click the link to view the walkaround video of Lot 651: click here
Contacts
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
1956 Ducati 125cc Bialbero Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. DM542DM Engine no. DM542DM
Auction information

LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION
Please note that whilst viewing is available by appointment, the auction itself will be conducted from a remote saleroom, behind closed doors without public access, in accordance with the current government guidelines.

Bidding Notices

VIEWING
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Please email: [email protected] with your preferred date, time and vehicle registration number or call +44 (0) 20 8963 2817 to book an appointment.

VIEWING TIMES
Wednesday 12 August 1pm to 5pm
Thursday 13 August 9am to 5pm
Friday 14 August 9am to 5pm
Saturday 15 August 9am to 5pm (Lots 501-704 only)

SALE TIMES
Friday 14 August Spares & Memorabilia (Lot 1 - 212) 10am
Saturday 15 August Motorcycles (Lot 301 - 462) 10am
Sunday 16 August Motorcycles (Morbidelli) (Lot 501 - 704) 10am

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £2,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £3,000,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

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Lot symbols
N NOVA declaration

If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, undertaken by Bonhams upon a successful sale, to facilitate the registration of the machine here in the UK.