Ducati 851 Eight-Valve

The Birth of a Superbike

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Ducati 851 Eight-Valve

Congratulations, it's a Twin

Here's a hypothetical situation for you: Let's say you were to take a modern Superbike, one capable of qualifying about, oh, wheel-to-wheel with the likes of Bubba Shobert's Honda and Jimmy Filice's Yamah, and you entered that bike in Daytona Speedweek's Pro-Twins 50 mile race. And let's say you put a former 500cc world roadracing champion on it. Would that be a fair matchup? Would you expect the bike to have any real competition in the race?

Not likely. But that's exactly what happened last year at Daytona. Marco Lucchinelli, 1981 500cc world roadracing champ, entered the Pro-Twins event on a motorcycle that would have been more at home in the Superbike race. His motorcycle was ineligible for Superbike competition, however, since it wasn't a production machine; but it was perfectly legal for Pro-Twins racing, for one simple reasone: It had two cylinders.

That's right - a four-stroke Twin capable of running with some of the fastest Fours on Earth. The bike in question: the Ducati 851 Eight-Valve.

Lucchinelli and his obscenely fast works Ducati humiliated the competiton. They won, naturally, going away.

Ducati 851 Eight-Valve
Ducati 851 Eight-Valve
Ducati 851 Eight-Valve


List Price $20,995
Importer Cagiva North America
Customer service phone (213) 538-9337
Engine liquid-cooled, four-stroke Twin
Bore x stroke 92.0 x 64.0mm
Displacement 851cc
Compression ratio 11:1
Claimed power 110 bhp @ 9600 rpm
Carburetion fuel injection
Tank empty
Tank full

417 lb.
445 lb.
Fuel capacity 4.6 gal.
Wheelbase 57.1 in.
Seat height 29.9 in.

120/60 V17 Michelin Slick
180/67 V17 Michelin Radial Slick
Measured top speed 154 mph