Known at first for its sporty line of lightweight
single-cylinder bikes, Ducati hit its stride in the early 1970s with its
V-Twin sportbikes that were the pinnacle in their era. Ducati currently
produces several desirable racing-inspired motorcycles. It also has a
rich racing history with particular dominance in World Superbike
competitions. Ducati offers sophisticated bikes in various distinct
market segments: Superbike, Supersport, Monster, Multistrada,
SportClassic and Hypermotard.
Societa Radio Brevetti Ducati is established, though not as a
motorcycle manufacturer. The company makes radio equipment.
The Ducati factory was destroyed in the war. After the bombing,
Ducati looks to build other products, and with the encouragement of the
Italian government, the company focuses on a motorized bicycle.
The 50cc Cucciolo (“pup”) motor is introduced. The motor is not a
Ducati design; it was created by Aldo Farinelli. The purchaser has to
attach it to his own bicycle. Over the next few years, Ducati will
improve the Cucciolo, which will grow to 60, 65, 98, and finally 125cc.
The 65cc sport edition is released. It’s a proper little motorcycle,
with swingarm and telescopic fork.
The 175cc Cruiser was introduced, featuring an automatic
transmission and electric starter. Also released that year was the
Ducati 98 as a bare-bones performance model.
The very economical Spartan 98cc bike was introduced.
Fabio Taglioni, an engineer, is hired to design a much
higher-performance line of bikes. He gets to work on 100 and 125cc
The popular Ducati Gran Sport is released.
Taglioni designs a desmodromic 125cc Grand Prix racer. He didn’t
invent the “desmo” valve operating system, which uses a second cam – not
springs – to close the valves. The system was patented by Daimler-Benz
years earlier. But the relatively primitive metallurgy of the time meant
that valve springs were a “weak link” in racing motors.
The desmo Ducati is reliable up to a then-shocking 15,000 rpm. Gianni
Degli Antoni laps the field at the Swedish GP but is killed before the
next race. His death is a setback to the Ducati racing effort.
Ducati debuts the Tourist 274, a four-stroke motorcycle.
Ducatis finish second and third in the 125cc World Championship;
only an injury to Bruno Spaggiari allowed Carlo Ubbiali to win again on
the MV Agusta. The Elite 200 is released.
The popular twin-cylinder 250cc is released and is basically a
fusion of two 125 “Grand Prix” motors – this is the “Grand Prix” model
production bike, with spring valves we’re talking about here, not the
The Scrambler is released. It’s largely intended for the American
market and was produced at the insistence of the Berliner brothers, the
Again at the insistence of the Americans, Taglioni designs the
“Harley beater” Apollo. It features a huge 1,257cc V-Four engine, but no
tires can handle the power and torque. The Apollo is never launched.
The classic Mark 1 250 is released. It features a rare five-speed
gearbox and plenty of sporty features.
The Mark 3 series was unleashed in 250cc, 350cc and 450cc
variations. Also that year, the 250cc and 350cc versions of the
Scrambler appear with their wide-casing engines.
The 450 Single appears, and production models are available with
Desmo valve actuation.
Taglioni grafts two 250cc top ends together to create a 90-degree
V-Twin 500cc Grand Prix racer.
The Ducati 750 GT (Gran Turismo) makes its debut in June. The bike
featured a twin-cylinder engine with a 90-degree configuration known as
an ‘L-Twin’. A sixth speed was added to the gearbox to help optimize the
engine, but the gearbox and electrical equipment were troublesome.
Paul Smart wins the Imola 200-mile race on a Desmo version of the
The 750 SS is released; a road-going version of Smart’s racer.
The 900 SS (Supersport) is released. Mike Hailwood comes out of
retirement and rides it to victory in the TT F1 class at the Isle of
The 900 MHR is released; a replica of Hailwood’s 900 SS. Ducati
builds it for hardcore riders and the bike is not even fitted with an
Ducati releases the Pantah 500 at the start of the new decade and it
proves to be one of the most successful bikes in Ducati production
history. This marks the beginning of belt-driven (as opposed to
bevel-driven) camshafts – a major simplification.
Ducati releases the minimalist 750 F1, which proves to be a highly
The Cagiva Group buys Ducati.
Two years after the release of the 750 F1, three ‘special’ versions
of the bike are released: 750 F1 Montjuich, 750 F1 Laguna Seca and 750
Also in 1986, the 750 Paso hits the market. It’s named after Renzo
Pasolini, a rider killed at Monza. The bike is designed by Massimo
The liquid-cooled, four-valve 851 hits the market, just in time for
the rise of World Superbike competition. The new motor is designed by
Massimo Bordi. His choice of four valves and a much tighter included
valve angle reinvigorates the now-traditional Ducati Desmo design. This
will establish a pattern for Ducati Superbikes that will hold for almost
Taglioni steps down as technical director.
Raymond Roche wins the World Superbike Championship.
The 888 is released. Doug Polen uses it to win the World Superbike
SBK: Polen, again.
At the Cologne Motor Show in the fall, a Monster is born. Ducati
displayed its Monster 900 for the first time. The bike includes the
trellis frame from the 851/888 series and the 904cc air/oil cooled
engine from the Supersport range.
The 4-stroke Single Supermono was released. It featured liquid
cooling, electronic injection and twin con-rods.
Carl Fogarty wins the World Superbike Championship on the
then-severely-limited-production Massimo Tamburini-designed 916.
The public gets to buy the 916 in reasonable quantities, and
Tamburini’s design is already seen as a classic. Fogarty repeats.
The Texas-Pacific Group buys 49% of the company, providing a much
needed injection of cash.
SBK: Troy Corser wins another title for Ducati.
TPG buys most of the remaining shares.
SBK: Fogarty, on the now venerable 916, proves he can still set
things on fire just by looking at them.
TPG takes the company public, selling 65% of the shares in the IPO.
The company is renamed Ducati Motor Holding SpA.
SBK: Fogarty, 996.
The 996 SBK replaced the 916 SBK. Like the
916, the 999 featured a desmodromic double camshaft, L-Twin cylinder
engine and a trellis frame. New on the bike were lighter three-spoke
wheels and an improved Brembo braking system.
The MH900e, a retro-classic tribute to Mike Hailwood, becomes the
first motorcycle to be sold exclusively on the Internet. It is the first
of what becomes known as the SportClassic line.
SBK: Another Troy from Australia. This time, it’s Bayliss.
Ducati unveils its much talked about 999 to rave reviews. They’re
raving about it, alright. But in largely negative terms. The truth is,
chief designer Pierre Terblanche had an impossible assignment when he
was faced with redesigning the iconic 916/996/998. Nothing could
possibly have satisfied the Ducatisti.
The question on everyone’s mind last year was, “Could Ducati develop
the Desmosedici MotoGP V-Four and still keep momentum up in the World
Superbike Championship?” The answer comes a resounding “yes,” with
Hodgson winning the SBK title and Loris Capirossi immediately
competitive in MotoGP.
The ugly-duckling Multistrada is launched. (Luckily for Ducati, it’s
only ugly until it’s been ridden.)
SBK: James Toseland.
TPG sells its remaining stake in the company to Investindustrial
Holdings, an Italian investment company.
SBK: Troy Bayliss wins on the 999, but the bike’s a lame duck.
Ducati is committed to a larger-than-1000cc displacement for their
flagship. The company lobbies the championship’s organizers to increase
the displacement for Twins to 1200cc.
The 1098 supercedes the unloved 999 as the flagship superbike. It
evokes the Tamburini 916 again; all is right in the world of the
Ducatisti… and to prove it, Casey Stoner dominates in the MotoGP World
Championship. Ducati wins its first-ever title in the premier class.
The Multistrada begets the Hypermotard.
MotoGP: Casey Stoner wins the World Championship! It all comes
together for Ducati in the first year of the new 800cc formula. The
Desmosedici gets great fuel mileage, allowing it to make more power when
it’s needed. Stoner is the rider who adapts best to the Magneti Marelli
traction-control system. It’s decisive.
The 1098 gets a baby brother, the 848.
- Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 35
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