Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. is an Italian company that designs and manufactures motorcycles.
Headquartered in Bologna, Italy, Ducati is owned by German automotive manufacturer Audi
through its Italian subsidiary Lamborghini.
In 1926 Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three sons, Adriano, Marcello, and Bruno Cavalieri
Ducati; founded Societ Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati in Bologna to produce vacuum
tubes, condensers and other radio components. In 1935 they had become successful enough
to enable construction of a new factory in the Borgo Panigale area of the city. Production
was maintained during World War II, despite the Ducati factory being a repeated target
of Allied bombing.
Meanwhile, at the small Turinese firm SIATA, Aldo Farinelli began developing a small pushrod
engine for mounting on bicycles. Barely a month after the official liberation of Italy
in 1944, SIATA announced its intention to sell this engine, called the "Cucciolo" to
the public. The first Cucciolos were available alone, to be mounted on standard bicycles,
by the buyer; however, businessmen soon bought the little engines in quantity, and offered
complete motorized-bicycle units for sale. In 1950, after more than 200,000 Cucciolos
had been sold, in collaboration with SIATA, the Ducati firm finally offered its own Cucciolo-based
motorcycle. This first Ducati motorcycle was a 48cc bike weighing 98lb with a top speed
of 40mph had a 15mm carburetor giving just under 200mpg-US. Ducati soon dropped
the Cucciolo name in favor of "55M" and "65TL".
When the market moved toward larger motorcycles, Ducati management decided to respond, making
an impression at an early-1952 Milan show, introducing their 65TS cycle and Cruiser.
Despite being described as the most interesting new machine at the 1952 show, the Cruiser
was not a great success, and only a few thousand were made over a two-year period before the
model ceased production. In 1953, management split the company into
two separate entities, Ducati Meccanica SpA and Ducati Elettronica, in acknowledgment
of its diverging motorcycle and electronics product lines. Ducati Elettronica became Ducati
Energia SpA in the eighties. Dr. Giuseppe Montano took over as head of Ducati Meccanica
SpA and the Borgo Panigale factory was modernized with government assistance. By 1954, Ducati
Meccanica SpA had increased production to 120 bikes a day.
In the 1960s, Ducati earned its place in motorcycling history by producing the fastest 250cc road
bike then available, the Mach 1. In the 1970s Ducati began producing large-displacement
V-twin motorcycles and in 1973, released a V-twin with the trademarked desmodromic valve
design. In 1985, Cagiva bought Ducati and planned to rebadge Ducati motorcycles with
the lesser-known Cagiva name. By the time the purchase was completed, Cagiva kept the
"Ducati" name on its motorcycles. In 1996, Texas Pacific Group bought a 51% stake in
the company for US$325 million; then, in 1998, bought most of the remaining 49% to become
the sole owner of Ducati. In 1999, TPG issued an IPO of Ducati stock and renamed the company
Ducati Motor Holding SpA. TPG sold over 65% of its shares in Ducati, leaving TPG the majority
shareholder. In December 2005, Ducati returned to Italian ownership with the sale of Texas
Pacific's stake to Investindustrial Holdings, the investment fund of Carlo and Andrea Bonomi.
In April 2012, Volkswagen Group's Audi subsidiary announced its intention to buy Ducati for
860million. Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Pich, a motorcycle enthusiast, had long
coveted Ducati, and had regretted that he passed up an opportunity to buy the company
from the Italian government in 1984. Analysts doubted a tiny motorcycle maker would have
a meaningful effect on a company the size of Volkswagen, commenting that the acquisition
has "a trophy feel to it," and, "is driven by VW's passion for nameplates rather than
industrial or financial logic". Italian luxury car brand Lamborghini was strengthened under
VW ownership. AUDI AG's Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. subsidiary acquired 100 percent of
the shares of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. on July 19, 2012 for 747million.
Ownership Since 1926, Ducati has been owned by a number
of groups and companies. 19261950 Ducati family
19501967 Government Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale management
1953 Split into Ducati Meccanica-now called Ducati Motor and Ducati Elettronica-now called
19671978 Government EFIM management 19671973 Headed By Giuseppe Montano
19731978 Headed by Cristiano de Eccher
19781985 VM Group 19851996 Cagiva Group ownership
19962005 Texas-Pacific Group ownership and going public
Headed by CEO Federico Minoli, 19962001; returning for 20032007
20052008 Investindustrial Holdings SpA
20082012 Performance Motorcycles SpA
An investment vehicle formed by Investindustrial Holdings, BS Investimenti and Hospitals of
Ontario Pension Plan
July 19, 2012 present Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
AUDI AG acquired 100% of the voting rights of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. via Audi's
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. subsidiary
From the 1960s to the 1990s, the Spanish company MotoTrans licensed Ducati engines and produced
motorcycles that, although they incorporated subtle differences, were clearly Ducati-derived.
MotoTrans's most notable machine was the 250cc 24 Horas.
Ducati is best known for high performance motorcycles characterized by large capacity
four-stroke, 90 V-twin engines, with a desmodromic valve design. Ducati refers to this configuration
as L-twin because one cylinder is vertical while the other is horizontal, making it look
like a letter "L". Modern Ducatis remain among the dominant performance motorcycles available
today partly because of the desmodromic valve design, which is nearing its 50th year of
use. Desmodromic valves are closed with a separate, dedicated cam lobe and lifter instead
of the conventional valve springs used in most internal combustion engines in consumer
vehicles. This allows the cams to have a more radical profile, thus opening and closing
the valves more quickly without the risk of valve-float, which causes a loss of power
that is likely when using a "passive" closing mechanism under the same conditions.
While most other manufacturers use wet clutches Ducati previously used multiplate dry clutches
in many of their motorcycles. The dry clutch eliminates the power loss from oil viscosity
drag on the engine, even though the engagement may not be as smooth as the oil-bath versions,
but the clutch plates can wear more rapidly. Ducati has converted to wet clutches across
their current product lines. Ducati also extensively uses the Trellis Steel
Frame configuration, although Ducati's MotoGP project broke with this tradition by introducing
a revolutionary carbon fibre frame for the Ducati Desmosedici GP9.
The chief designer of most Ducati motorcycles in the 1950s was Fabio Taglioni. His designs
ranged from the small single-cylinder machines that were successful in the Italian 'street
races' to the large-capacity twins of the 1980s. Ducati introduced the Pantah in 1979;
its engine was updated in the 1990s in the Ducati SuperSport series. All modern Ducati
engines are derivatives of the Pantah, which uses a toothed belt to actuate the engine's
valves. Taglioni used the Cavallino Rampante on his Ducati motorbikes, Taglioni chose this
emblem of courage and daring as a sign of respect and admiration for Francesco Baracca,
a heroic World War I fighter pilot who died during an air raid in 1918.
In 1973, Ducati commemorated its 1972 win at the Imola 200 with the production model
green frame Ducati 750 SuperSport. Ducati also targeted the offroad market with
the two-stroke Regolarit 125, building 3,486 models from 1975 to 1979, but the bike was
not successful. In 1975, the company introduced the 860 GT,
designed by noted car stylist Giorgio Giugiaro. Its angular lines were unique, but raised
handlebars made for an uncomfortable seating position at high speeds and also caused steering
Ducati's liquid-cooled multi-valve V-twins made from 1985 on are known as Desmoquattro.
These include the 851, 916 and 996, 999 and a few predecessors and derivatives.
1990s In 1993, Miguel Angel Galuzzi introduced the
Ducati Monster, a naked bike with exposed trellis and engine. Today the Monster accounts
for almost half of the company's worldwide sales. The Monster has undergone the most
changes of any motorcycle that Ducati has ever produced.
In 1993, Pierre Terblanche, Massimo Bordi and Claudio Domenicali designed the Ducati
Supermono. A 550cc single-cylinder lightweight "Catalog Racer". Only 67 were built between
1993 and 1997. In 1994, the company introduced the Ducati
916 model designed by Massimo Tamburini, a water-cooled version that allowed for higher
output levels and a striking new bodywork that had aggressive lines, an underseat exhaust,
and a single-sided swingarm. Ducati has since ceased production of the 916, supplanting
it with the 749 and 999. 2000s
In 2006, the retro-styled Ducati PaulSmart 1000 LE was released, which shares styling
cues with the 1973 750 SuperSport, as one of a SportClassic series representing the
750 GT, 750 Sport, and 750 SuperSport Ducati motorcycles.
Monster: 620, 695, 750, 900, S2R, S4R ST2, ST3, ST4
Paul Smart 1000LE and SportClassic variants SuperSport 750, 900, 1000
748, 749, 848 996, 998, 999, 1098, 1098S, 1098R, 1198
Desmosedici RR Current lineup
1200 S Multistrada
1200 1200 S
1200 S Pikes Peak Diavel
Diavel, Cromo, Carbon, and Strada Superbike
899 Panigale 1199 Panigale
1199 Panigale S 1199 Panigale R
Hypermotard SP Hyperstrada
Current engines Desmodue: Desmodromic two-valve, air-cooled,
60 included valve angle Testastretta 11: Desmo four-valve, liquid-cooled,
11 valve overlap angle Testastretta 11 DS: Desmo four-valve, liquid-cooled,
11 valve overlap angle, dual ignition Superquadro: Desmo four-valve, liquid cooled
Past engines Desmodue Evoluzione: Desmo two-valve, air-cooled
Desmodue DS: Desmo two-valve, air-cooled, 56 included valve angle, dual ignition
Desmodue LC: Desmo two-valve, liquid-cooled Desmotre DS: Desmo three-valve, liquid-cooled,
40 included valve angle, dual ignition Desmoquattro: Desmo four-valve, liquid-cooled,
40 included valve angle, Testastretta: Desmo four-valve, liquid-cooled,
25 included valve angle, Testastretta Evoluzione: Desmo four-valve,
liquid-cooled, 24.3 included valve angle, 41 valve overlap angle
Motorcycle design history
Ducati has produced several styles of motorcycle engines, including varying the number of cylinders,
type of valve actuation and fuel delivery. Ducati is best known for its V-twin engine,
called a L-twin by the company, which is the powerplant in the majority of Ducati-marqued
motorcycles. Ducati has also manufactured engines with one, two, three or four cylinders;
operated by pull rod valves and push rod valves; single, double and triple overhead camshafts;
two-stroke and even at one stage manufactured small diesel engines, many of which were used
to power boats, generators, garden machinery and emergency pumps. The engines were the
IS series from 7 to 22hp air-cooled and the larger twin DM series water- and air-cooled.
The engines have been found in all parts of the globe. Wisconsin Diesel even assembled
and "badge engineered" the engines in the USA. They have also produced outboard motors
for marine use. Currently, Ducati makes no other engines except for its motorcycles.
On current Ducati motors, except for the Desmosedici and 1199 Panigale, the valves are actuated
by a standard valve cam shaft which is rotated by a timing belt driven by the motor directly.
The teeth on the belt keep the camshaft drive pulleys indexed. On older Ducati motors, prior
to 1986, drive was by solid shaft that transferred to the camshaft through bevel-cut gears. This
method of valve actuation was used on many of Ducati's older single-cylinder motorcycles
the shaft tube is visible on the outside of the cylinder.
Ducati is also famous for using the desmodromic valve system championed by engineer and designer
Fabio Taglioni, though the firm has also used engines that use valve springs to close their
valves. In the early days, Ducati reserved the desmodromic valve heads for its higher
performance bikes and its race bikes. These valves do not suffer from valve float at high
engine speeds, thus a desmodromic engine is capable of far higher revolutions than a similarly
configured engine with traditional spring-valve heads.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ducati produced a wide range of small two-stroke bikes, mainly
sub-100cc capacities. Large quantities of some models were exported to the United States.
Ducati has produced the following motorcycle engine types:
Single-cylinder, pullrod actuated, 48cc and 65cc
pushrod actuated, 98 and 125cc two-stroke, 50, 80, 90, 100, 125cc
bevel actuated, spring valved: 98cc, 100cc, 125cc, 160cc, 175cc, 200cc, 239cc,
250cc, 350cc, 450cc bevel actuated, desmodromic valved: 125cc,
239cc, 250cc, 350cc and 450cc belt actuated, desmodromic valved: 549/572cc
Supermono, only 65 made.
Two-cylinder, bevel actuated, spring valved: 750cc, 860cc
bevel actuated, desmo valved: 750cc, 860cc, 973cc
bevel actuated, desmo valved: 125cc, chain actuated, spring valved: 350cc, 500cc
chain actuated, desmo valved: 500cc belt actuated, desmo valved: Almost all motors
Four-cylinder, gear actuated, desmo valved:
pushrod actuated, spring valved: Prototype Apollo, only two made.
Enthusiasts groups A key part of Ducati's marketing strategy
since the 1990s has been fostering a distinct community identity in connection with branding
efforts including online communities and local, regional and national Ducati enthusiast clubs.
There are more than 400 Ducati clubs worldwide and 20,000 registered users of the Ducati
Owners Club web site and 17,000 subscribers to the racing web site. Enthusiasts and riders
are informally referred to in the motorcycling community as Ducatista or Ducatisti.
In North America there are several Ducati enthusiasts organizations with varying degrees
of factory sponsorship. DESMO, the Ducati Enthusiast Sport Motorcycle Organization,
is a North American group affiliated with the factory Desmo Owners Club. Some groups
are focused on vintage Ducatis while several are based primarily or entirely on email discussion
lists or web forums such as Ducati.net. Ducati products other than motorcycles
Ducati Meccanica has its marque on non-motorcycle products as well. In the 1930s and 1940s,
Ducati manufactured radios, cameras, and electrical products such as a razor. Ducati made a marine
binocular called the BIMAR for the Kriegsmarine during World War II, some of which were sold
on the civilian market after the war. The Ducati Sogno was a half-frame Leica-like camera
which is now a collector's item. Ducati and Bianchi have developed and launched a new
line of racing bicycles. Currently, there are four Ducati companies:
Ducati Motor Holding, Ducati Corse, Ducati Energia, a designer and manufacturer of electrical
and electronic components and systems and Ducati Sistemi, a subsidiary of Ducati Energia.
All are located in Borgo Panigale in Bologna, Italy.
Ducati Motor Holding often uses electrical components and subsystems from Ducati Energia.
Merchandising Ducati has a wide range of accessories, lifestyle
products and co-branded merchandise bearing their logos and designs. The company has a
licensing agreement with Tumi Inc., launching a collection of eight co-branded luggage pieces
in 2006 sold through both of the brands' retail outlets.
Ducati's history with motorsport began with speed records on Cucciolo motorized bicycle
factory racers in 1951, followed in 1954 with bringing in Fabio Taglioni to found a road
racing program with the 100 Gran Sport. As of 2009, Ducati was still pursuing the "win
on Sunday, sell on Monday" business model and spending 10% of company revenues, 40million,
on its racing business. MotoGP World Championship
Ducati rejoined Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2003, after a 30-year absence. On September
23, 2007, Casey Stoner clinched his and Ducati's first Grand Prix World Championship.
When Ducati re-joined MotoGP in 2003, MotoGP had changed its rules to allow four-stroke
990cc engines to race. At the time Ducati was the fastest bike. In 2007, MotoGP reduced
the engine size to 800cc, and Ducati continued to be the fastest with a bike that was markedly
quicker than its rivals as was displayed by Casey Stoner on tracks with long straights.
For 2009, Ducati Marlboro Team campaigned their Desmosedici GP9 with former World Champions
Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden. Ducati also supplies customer bikes to the Alice Team,
with Mika Kallio and Niccol Canepa riding for the team in 2009.
Ducati has announced that for the 2011 season, nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi will
ride for Ducati Corse. This relationship ended at the end of the 2012 season with Rossi returning
to the Yamaha team for the 2013/14 seasons. Superbike World Championship
For 2009, Ducati will race a homologated version of the 1198. The FIM, the sanctioning body
for the Superbike World Championship, has raised the displacement limit for two-cylinder
engines to 1200cc. In 2007, Ducati raced their 999F07 which is a homologated racing
version of the 999R because maximum displacement for two-cylinder engines was limited to 1000cc.
The company has won 13 rider's world championships since the championship's inception in 1988.
It has been argued that Ducati has amassed more wins than any other manufacturer because
the rules are deliberately set to favour their bikes through manufacturer lobbying; this,
of course, is a matter of dispute. In 2006, Troy Bayliss' championship winning 999R was
quoted to have 10 to 15hp less than the Japanese four-cylinder rivals, despite the
fact that the Ducati V-twin had fewer limitations imposed for tuning its engine.
Noriyuki Haga finished the 2009 World Superbike season aboard the factory-backed 1098R second
overall behind Ben Spies, with 8 wins, and 19 podiums.
Ducati has also won 16 SBK manufacturer world championships for years 19911996, 19982004,
2006, 20082009 and 2011. Supersport World Championship
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship British Superbike Championship
The British Superbike Championship has been won by Ducati riders on eight occasions and
entered since 1988: AMA Superbike Championship
In the AMA Superbike Championship, Ducati has had its share of success, with Doug Polen
winning the title in 1993 and Troy Corser the following year in 1994. Ducati has entered
a bike in every AMA Superbike season since 1986, but withdrew from the series after the
2006 season. Ducati had an important place in early Superbike
racing history in the United States and vice versa: In 1977, Cycle magazine editors Cook
Neilson and Phil Schilling took a Ducati 750SS to first place at Daytona in the second-ever
season of AMA Superbike racing. "Neilson retired from racing at the end of the year, but the
bike he and Schilling built nicknamed Old Blue for its blue livery became a
legend," says Richard Backus from Motorcycle Classics: "How big a legend? Big enough for
Ducati to team with Italian specialty builder NCR to craft a limited-edition update, New
Blue, based on the 2007 Sport 1000S, and big enough to inspire the crew at the Barber Vintage
Motorsports Museum, arguably one of the most important motorcycle museums in the world,
to commission Ducati specialist Rich Lambrechts to craft a bolt-by-bolt replica for its collection.
The finished bike's name? Deja Blue." Australian Superbike Championship
See also List of Italian companies
List of motorcycle manufacturers Notes
External links ducati.com Official website
Ducati Motorcycles at DMOZ Ducati Organizations and Clubs at DMOZ
Ducati Businesses at DMOZ