Having joined Ducati from Mondial in 1954, Ing. Fabio Taglioni’s first project was to design and develop what became the 98cc Grand Sport. This pushrod OHC single-cylinder racer, nicknamed the Marianna, was designed to put Ducati on the map, and in Italian long distance road race events like the Milano-Taranto and Moto Giro, the Gran Sport was victorious in both 100cc and 125cc guises.
However, Ducati’s new Director, Guiseppe Montano, sought success on the world stage, and so Taglioni set to work on a new engine. With bevel-drive double overhead cams, the resulting 125cc GP Bialbero was significantly more powerful than the Gran Sport, producing 16hp at 11,500rpm.
According to an Italian marque specialist who is also an historic motorcycle inspector and a consultant to the Ducati Museum, this machine’s frame is from 1956 and it’s of the type was used for both the 125cc and 175cc Ducati racers. He also confirms that this engine is ex-works from 1957, (as today, it was commonplace in racing to swap engines and frames around), and only 15 of these works 125 Bialbero motors were built. It’s believed that around 50 production 125 Bialbero racers were also produced for paying customers, but this one was a factory machine raced only by contracted riders. This type of DOHC bevel engine is also significant in that it is the last of Taglioni’s pre-desmodromic designs.
Few Ducati 125 Bialberos have survived today, while ex-works examples are rarer still. This example is in lovely condition and comes Automotoclub Storico Italia certification.