c.1990 Ducati 888cc '851 Superbike' Racing Motorcycle Frame no. none visible Engine no. ZDM888W4001409

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Lot 698N
c.1990 Ducati 888cc '851 Superbike' Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. none visible Engine no. ZDM888W4001409

£ 8,000 - 14,000
US$ 10,000 - 18,000
To be sold without reserve
c.1990 Ducati 888cc '851 Superbike' Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. none visible
Engine no. ZDM888W4001409
• Based on a standard production model
• Replica of Raymond Roche's works machine
• In the Museum for some 20 years

One of the most influential motorcycles of recent times, the Ducati 851 Superbike restored the fortunes of the Italian company and paved the way for a highly successful family of superbikes, the final (pre-Panigale) example being the 1098 of 2007.

In developing the original 851 Desmoquattro, engineer Massimo Bordi created one of the finest motorcycle power plants ever. By the mid-1980s, Ducati's existing air-cooled Desmodue twins were approaching the end of their development, so Bordi started with a clean sheet in creating their water-cooled, 8-valve, fuel-injected successor. Ducati's trademark desmodromic valve actuation system, which closes the valves mechanically rather than relying on springs, was retained, as was the 90-degree angle between the cylinders. Wrapped around this outstanding Desmoquattro engine was a frame, consisting of an intricate trellis of straight tubes, whose design would become a Ducati trademark. Only one paint scheme was available at first: silver-grey frame with bodywork in the Italian national colours of red/white/green, hence these models' Tricolore sobriquet.

Riding the factory prototype, Marco Lucchinelli had won the Battle of The Twins (BoTT) race at Daytona in March 1987, and Ducati then spent the rest of the season on development prior to the production version's launch at the Milan Show in November. Two models were available initially: the 851 Strada and 851 Superbike Kit, the latter being the first of many limited edition 'homologation specials' produced to satisfy World Superbike Championship requirements. One of the first of the latter was the 851 SP2, introduced for 1990, which although still badged as an '851' had an 888cc engine.

In 1991 Ducati offered the 851 Corsa (Racing), also known as the Roche Replica, which was a faithful replica of Raymond Roche's 1990 WSBC-winning 888 (the 851 badging was intended to convince the paying spectator that the bike was identical to the road version). In due course the 888cc engine became available in the mainstream production model, the 888 Strada, which debuted in 1993.

We are advised that the machine offered here started life as a standard production model and has been prepared for racing as a replica of Roche's works machine. The frame appears to be un-numbered, so it has not been possible to determine in what model it left the factory. In the Museum for some 20 years, the machine is offered for re-commissioning and sold strictly as viewed.

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.
Contacts
c.1990 Ducati 888cc '851 Superbike' Racing Motorcycle Frame no. none visible Engine no. ZDM888W4001409
c.1990 Ducati 888cc '851 Superbike' Racing Motorcycle Frame no. none visible Engine no. ZDM888W4001409
Auction information

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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.

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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.