1958 Ducati 125 GP Twin
With Phil Aynsley
Following on the the previous column that featured Ducati’s first multi-cylinder motorcycle (Link), I thought it would be good to look at Ducati’s next attempt at a parallel twin – the 1958 125 GP bike.
It first raced at that year’s Italian GP at Monza and was part of one of the company’s most notable racing achievements, taking the top five places in the 125cc race, throughly eclipsing the MV Agusta team.
The Twin was ridden by Francesco Villa and finished in third place behind winner Bruno Spaggiari and Alberto Gandossi and in front of Dave Chadwick and Luigi Taveri – both on better handling Ducati singles.
The 125 Twin made 22.5 hp at 13,800 rpm but the three camshaft Desmo valve gear allowed a maximum of 17,000 rpm to be touched on over-run if required. A six-speed gearbox was used to try and keep the revs within the narrow power band.
It was the combination of the peaky power characteristics, the relatively high weight of 92 kg and an output that was barely more than the 125 Desmo single which saw development of the Twin basically cease with only three being built.
The Twin again finished third in the following year’s Monza GP, this time with Taveri riding. After that it was campaigned by Ducati’s partner company Mototrans in Spain beginning in 1962, where Bruno Spaggiari won numerous events.
Mototrans did continue to develop the bike which saw maximum power increase to 24 hp at 15,000 rpm, together with a wider power band. The Twin was raced in Spain (and also in Italy) right through into the 1966 season. Ducati’s 125/4 (to read more about it click here) was designed to be the replacement for the Twin in Spanish competition. The bike seen here is Villa’s third placing Monza machine.