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Mar 25, 2019

Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1984 Ducati TT2

John Williams (45) is seen winning the AMA Pro Battle Of The Twins (BOTT) race at Sears Point (now Sonoma) Raceway in 1984, aboard a Ducati TT2 owned by Dale Newton. Photos by Larry Lawrence.



     It was 40 years ago that Ducati launched the Pantah, featuring a new engine that would replace the expensive bevel-cam-drive V-Twin. Designed by Fabio Taglioni, the engine was still a 90-degree air-cooled V-Twin but now utilized automotive-style toothed-rubber belts to drive the overhead desmodromic cams. From the outset, it was designed to be produced in various capacities; the first was 498cc with a bore and stroke of 74 mm x 58mm, followed by 583cc from a bore and stroke of 80 mm x 58 mm, then 649cc from 82 mm x 61.5 mm and  so on, all the way up to 1000cc.

      At the same time the engine was being designed, World Championship road racing was undergoing a long-overdue safety review. Pure road circuits had to address rider safety or be taken off the GP calendar. The Isle of Man’s 37¾-mile TT circuit could not comply, so lost GP status. T o soften the blow, the FIM created three new classes loosely based on modified streetbikes: TT Formulas One, Two, and Three would be run on pure road circuits at events like the TT and Ulster GP. TT F1 favored big four-stroke machines, and TT F2 allowed 350cc two-strokes to compete with 600cc four-strokes. To outlaw TZ350s, from 1980 TT F2 regulations allowed only modified street engines to be used. 

     A 600cc Pantah and the new TT F2 regulations were made for each other...

"Historic Racebike Illustrations" by Mick Ofield,  in the March 2019 issue of Roadracing World

John Williams in the winner's circle after finishing second at Pocono, 1985.

Ducati took the opportunity presented by the FIM's new TT regulations of the 1980s to create the purpose-built TT2, which dominated the TT F2 series for years. Mick Ofield takes an inside look at an amazing racebike that you could still build, more than three decades on. It's all in the March 2019 issue of Roadracing World!

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