Although Ducati’s water-cooled 8-valve v-twin had been around in its original 851 and 888 incarnations for six years and had already won four World Superbike Championships, it was the arrival of the iconic 916 for 1994 that really captured the public’s imagination. Styled by Massimo Tamburini, the 916 and its subsequent evolutions established Ducati as one of the world’s foremost brand names. Universally recognised as icons of automotive art, Ducati motorcycles have been exhibited in some of the world’s foremost museums, including the Guggenheim in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.
The original 916 Strada was superseded by the Biposto (two-seat) version and the higher-specification SP. The latter’s engine remained at 916cc but added twin fuel injectors and bigger valves to the package for increased power and torque. The SP reverted to a single seat unit (with white number boards) while gaining superior Öhlins rear suspension. Next came the ultra-exclusive 916SPS (Sport Production Special) derivative of which only 400 examples were made. Despite the name, the 916SPS enjoyed the advantages of an over-bored engine displacing 996cc and delivering a mighty 132bhp at the rear wheel. The cost new was an equally staggering £18,400.
For 1999 the 996 replaced the 916 and one again there was a higher-specification ‘SPS’ version topping the range, albeit with a slightly reduced maximum power output of 123bhp, 10 horsepower more than the base 996. 996SPS chassis upgrades included an Öhlins rear shock and lightweight five-spoke Marchesini wheels. Showa forks were fitted to the 1999 model but for 2000 the 996SPS received fully adjustable Öhlins forks incorporating titanium nitride coated stanchions. The 996SPS’s top speed was around 175mph and this exclusive model cost £18,650 in 1999, making it one of the world’s most expensive production motorcycles.
This 2001 model was UK supplied and has just been serviced by MD racing at a cost of £2500 with new rockers, belts and a fresh MOT. It is supplied with a documented service history, all the manuals / books, keys and tool kit. There are also bills and old MoT’s to support the 27,000 miles that it has covered.