MotorBike Riding

Ducati 851 Superleggera – 2 Fused Myths 27 Years Later

Ducati 851 Superleggera

Ducati 851 Superleggera – Even the motorcycle manufacturers have begun to look at this type of media, which were previously the preserve of customizers and manufacturers of special: it was the genesis of neo-vintage trend, they belong to successful products such as the Yamaha XSR 900 and 700, or BMW of NINET range.

however, has not yet seen, at least as regards official houses, a supercar with these features: the “geeks” are a category a bit ‘special, and before proposing a bike like that is fair, from a commercial point of view , do extensive evaluations.

And yet … and yet, as always, there is someone who “” -at least smashes the computer to graphically see the effect it does: remember the Ducati 851, the first Superbike four valves per cylinder produced in series by the Borgo Panigale?

The Desmoquattro engine started in 1986, was made an L-Twin with headboard to 4V, which was mounted on the chassis of a 750 F1. The bike, called 748 I.E gave the epic of V2 Bolognese 16 valve which continues today with the 1299 Panigale. After this “experiment” is passed to serial production with the legendary 851: it starts the adventure of Ducati in World Superbike.

In 1990, Raymond Roche got his first World Superbike for Ducati, and he did it with the 851, a model that was in production from 1987 to 1992 and that became the worthy successor of the 900SS.

Before, on April 3, 1988, Marco Lucchinelli also made a dent in the history of the Italian brand achieving the first victory of the Ducati 851 at the WSBK. It was in Donington Park, in front of the Bimota Davide Tardozzi, an intense face to face that was not decided until the last lap, when Tardozzi went long in an overtaking allowing Lucchinelli to climb to the top of the podium with the Ducati.

For the Italian factory, this victory equaled that of Paul Smart in Imola, in 1972, when he won the Imola 200 Miles with a GT 750, the first Ducati with a desmodromic engine.

Raymond Roche in 1990 on the Ducati 851
Raymond Roche in 1990 on the Ducati 851

A motorcycle with so much history behind as the 851 and still so present in the hearts of all Ducati enthusiasts deserves a tribute as you see in the image, assembled by the official website of World Superbike based on the chassis and the cycle part of the exclusive 1199 Superleggera, overlapping over the 851 fairings with which Raymond Roche was proclaimed world champion Superbikes 27 years ago.

Curiously, despite the fact that both bikes are separated by just over two decades, the 851’s fairing seems to fit perfectly into the Superleggera’s monocoque magnesium chassis, one of Borgo Panigale’s most exclusive bikes.

Speaking of cars, it is called “restomod” that kind of restoration that also includes the installation, on a historical vehicle, modern components to improve performance. In practice, it takes a few old glory and mounts a number of pieces (braking system, engine, various accessories) that improve the dynamic behavior or simply the aesthetic.

The vintage craze in recent years collecting successes in motorcycle field work rather the contrary: it takes a modern base (either a recent superbike or naked) and “dresses” like the motion of a time, thus obtaining a half with a strong vintage charm but with the reliability, performance and safety of a modern motorcycle.

It’s a little ‘strange to see certain technical solutions (radial calipers, exhaust sub-engine, monocoque frame) coupled to a look-year ’80 -’90, but it’s a mix that really makes your heart beat, and not just that of Ducati fans!

It ‘something virtually impossible to happen, but I would love it if Ducati decided to put into production a bike like that, old school lines and modern technology?