MV Agusta 750 Imola
With Phil Aynsley
The name ‘750 Imola’ normally brings a silver Ducati to mind, however Ducati wasn’t the only Italian manufacturer to field a 750 Imola in the famous 1972 race.
MV Agusta was there with factory riders Giacomo Agostini and Alberto Pagani on very special versions of their 750 Sport.
These were very much race bikes, with many substantial changes from the road bike.
The cylinders were cast in one block, instead of separately, while the heads were different castings with fewer fins and revised valve angles.
The 29 mm SS1 Dell’Orto carbs were bored out to 30 mm. All these modifications resulted in an output of 85 hp at 9000 rpm.
Interestingly the two bikes used different frames and tanks. The bike I photographed here is Pagani’s machine, that Ago used as backup after Pagani injured his arm in practice. The visual frame differences can be seen under the rear of the tank.
The Pagani bike is as per 1972, whereas Ago’s bike was modified greatly after the ’72 race (in which he led for the first few laps before being passed by Ducati riders Spaggiari and Smart, then retiring).
A chain final drive, box section swing arm and dual Scarab front discs were the main external changes.
This bike now resides in the Barber Museum in the US, where these shots were taken in 2014. The Pagani bike was in the Elly collection when I photographed it in 2013.