This article is from the Ducatis Motorcycles FAQ, by Duke Robillard email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Yes. Recent service manuals have been updated to reflect a 4600 mi.
interval, despite the continuance of the 3K figure in the owner's manual.
And even better: as of 1996, Ducati has changed the recommended valve check
on 916 engines to 6,000 miles. there is no check at 600 miles any more, the
first one is at 6,000. supposedly they are running the engines in at the
factory and testing them before delivery.
The stability record of modern Duck valve clearances seems to be rather
high. Many folks are noting that clearances are retained well into the 10K
range. Keep in mind this all depends on usage -- racebikes can expect some
deviations from this due to the number of engine-hours spent at redline,
etc. However, pit crews ought to be checking this regularly, anyway, right?
Note that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to find one right off,
however, so don't risk it. There's no guarantees that you'll be as lucky as
the next person. If you're perceptive, you can hear them click or jangle if
they get a little sloppy.
If you end up checking the valves yourself, there's a video made by PI
Motorsports just for you. It's probably worth checking out, as the most
important thing concerning valve clearances (and belts, too) is to keep on
top of a potentially expensive situation before it gets by you. If you find
that you, in fact, need to replace a shim upon inspection, the advice would
be to leave it torn down and take the bike to a Ducati dealer you trust.
They have the replacements, and those don't come in all the incremental
sizes so some grinding may be necessary to get the precise fit necessary.
With the bodywork off, you might save a little labor expense. As an
example, Dale at BTF Motors in Livermore charges $25 per shim for labor to
install one, whereas you can probably count on five to six hours of labor
if the nice expensive mechanic has to do the assembly/disassembly of really
simple things. Unless, of course, you really like your mechanic....