We take for granted that every Ducati you can buy today has desmodromic valve actuation (yes even the otherwise icon breaking 1199 Panigale). For the longest time though, Ducati road bikes had valve spring actuation. This 1967 Sport Corsa Demo 350 was the turning point that led to desmodromics hitting the streets.
Daytona, March 1967. Ducati’s hopes are dashed as its revised Ducati single racers are rejected at tech inspection since the bikes are deemed to exhibit “a change in basic design” that breaks their relationship to the production road bikes. That change? Desmodromic valve actuation. Despite not racing Ducati got a lot of attention for their new wide single engine that paved the way for desmodromics to be introduced to a production road bike the very next year (250, 350 Mark 3 Desmo).
This 1967 factory Sport Corsa Desmo 350 then is one of the iconic machines that paved the way for one of the iconic aspects of Ducati engine design. The 340cc single overhead cam engine produced 41 horsepower at 10,500rpm. This particular machine, one of just six in existence, found its way to Australia and then was caught in the lens of Ducati photographer Phil Aynsley.
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