1988 DUCATI 851 RACING (851 KIT)
- The first DUCATI series equipped with a water-cooled 4-valve engine
- - The early model (model 1) 851 was sold only for one year exclusively in 1988
- - One of only 207 units of 851 KIT (RACING) models produced for homologation
- - Italian national color bodywork in red, white, and green (Tricolore)
- - Sold by Murayama Motors, the former official dealer in Japan
- - Stored perfectly in mint condition for 31 years
Ducati which had been searching for the way to replace the previous 750F1 to the next flagship model, started developing a new model for participating in the World Superbike Championship which had been showing the sign of its inauguration since around 1985.
Achieving success at the race was deemed as the most important issue for this new model since Ducati had had numerous experiences to link successful results on racetracks to their sales figures. As a result, the new model was produced with a new generation engine installing their new innovative mechanisms such as a water-cooled 4-valve and the fuel injection from a framework of engineer Massimo Bordi who had been working with the chief engineer Fabio Talioni as his right arm and became a chief engineer himself later.
The first prototype appearing in 1986 was a racing vehicle with the "Pantah-based engine". This race bike equipped with a water-cooled 4-valve engine of 748cc displacement left the first race in the year's Bol d'or 24-hour endurance race after 15 hours in the same year, but continual endeavor since then resulted in the expanded displacement of 851cc and winning the Daytona BOTT race in 1987. A prototype model was announced at the Milan show of that year, and its sales started in the following year, 1988.
Ducati took part in the World Superbike Championship inaugurated in 1988 with the newly launched 851in the same year. It made a stunning debut by winning the opening race of the first year. Since then, the more improvement Ducati sought, the more speed the 851 acquired, and it showed outstanding performances by such as becoming the champion for the third consecutive season from 1990 till 1992. Through those racing activities, the 851 and its improved version ‘888’ were continuously developed and improved. Those results come out from the continuous improvement have been also reflected to the commercial vehicles and more enhancements were sought and implemented year by year. Then, in 1994, the successor model 916 appeared in pursuit of further fighting strength in the race with both of the completely innovated engine and body, and the 851 series came to an end of its roll and sales.
The early 851 was the first model equipped with a water-cooled 4-valve engine in the Ducati series, and it was also the new Ducati flagship model developed for racing activities. Many new mechanisms have been incorporated into its engine and body. The exterior, such as the cowling and the fuel tank cover, was painted in ‘Tricolore’ trim with red, white and green from the Italian national flag.
The early model (model 1) 851 was only sold for a year in 1988. 851 Strada developed for public road driving was limited to 300 examples. On the other hand, 207 of limited examples of 851 Kit (Racing) existed for homologation.
Since the 851 kit (Racing) is a homologation model for racing participation, it was the only race-based model with no safety components amongst all the commercial vehicles in the 851 series.
Since this model is a race-based motorcycle, mounted measuring gauges are limited only to the rev counter and water temperature meter in the cockpit and no speedometers are found. The headlights and handle switches are attached but not wired. Unlike the Strada, the main harness is completely designed exclusively for racing.
This example was dealt by Murayama Motors, the then official importer, and have been stored indoors for 31 years in a completely preserved state after fuel and cooling water were drained. The color fading, deterioration of materials, rubber parts, paint and plating are hardly seen since it has been stored in the environment where people can live.
This could be the only one 851 Racing in this beautiful mint condition all around the world.