1. HISTORY of DUCATI
Superbike Racing is a category of motorcycle racing that employs highly modified production motorcycles, as opposed to Moto GP in which purpose-built motorcycles are used. The Superbike World Championship is the official world championship series, though national Superbike championships are held in many countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada. Superbike racing is generally popular with manufacturers, since it helps promote and sell their product, as captured by the slogan "Win on Sunday; Sell on Monday".
In 1926 the Ducati family and other Bolognese investors founded the Società Radio Brevetti Ducati in Bologna.
Their aim was the production of industrial components for the growing field of radio transmissions, based on Adriano Ducati's patents.
The first product, the Manens condenser for radio equipment, rapidly followed by others, was extremely successful throughout the world, allowing the company to expand by leaps and bounds, and winning it the respect of the international industrial community.
On June 1, 1935, the cornerstone of the factory in Borgo Panigale was laid.
The new complex was an extremely modern and ambitious project, with the objective of establishing an industrial and technological center in Bologna.
During this time the Ducati industry further developed abroad, and opened branches and offices in London, Paris, New York, Sydney and Caracas, assuring direct service and assistance to its clientele in all the major world markets.
In 1946, the Cucciolo appeared: the small auxiliary motor for bicycles destined to become the most famous in the world. First sold in an assembly box to be attached to the bicycle, it soon acquired a frame of its own, which was constructed by Caproni in Trento (another famous brand in the aeronautical field) and based on a Capellino patent.
The end of the 1960's coincided with the boom of the maxibikes. Once again, engineer Taglioni provided Ducati with the winning weapon. On April 23, 1972, Ducati returned to racing, participating in the Imola 200 Miles, with a new twin cylinder desmodromic 750, entrusted to Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari who finished first and second. The exceptional 750 Supersport was created in response to the spectacular race.
Ducati's commitment to the SBK Championship from 1990 allowed it to achieve its dream of winning its first title with the Ducati 851 just two years later, the first twin-cylinder fitted with a 4-valve Desmoquattro engine. The French rider, Raymond Roche, won the first riders' title for the Bologna-based team in 1990. This was just the start of an incredible run up the championship ladder for Ducati, with bikes based on the standard production models. During these years, in fact, Ducati raced with its 851, 888, 916 and 996 bikes, totting up an amazing number of titles with riders who became legends in the history of the SBK, first and foremost Carl Fogarty, but also Doug Polen, Troy Corser and Giancarlo Falappa.
However, despite its success in SBK and significant acclaims in the road bike sector, Ducati was unable to avoid yet another crisis, brought about by the occasionally unwise management policies of the Cagiva Group, which was forced to sell Ducati to the American investment fund Texas Pacific Group in September 1996. The new management team made some extensive changes in its administration, commercial and marketing policies that strengthened Ducati to the point where it became one of the strongest motorcycle brands on the market.
Ducati started changing from a purely manufacturing company to an entertainment company. It now provides a full motorcycling experience, centered on the technical excellence of its motorcycles but also extending to racing, heritage, accessories and apparel.
The first World Ducati Weekend underlined the newly found sense of the Ducati Community, bringing together in Misano 10,000 Ducatisti from all over the world.
The turnaround era culminated on March 24, 1999 with the listing of Ducati Motor Holding at the New York and Milan Stock Exchanges.
2000 was the year that the MH900e became the first motorcycle to be sold exclusively on the Internet; its success led Ducati to establish itself as a major player on the Web by creating the Ducati.com website. The racing season closed with the ninth Superbike Manufacturers' Title, despite the forced retirement of Carl "King" Fogarty after a bad fall at the end of March.
In 2001 the Italian factory celebrated the production of 100,000 Monsters since 1993 and presents the Multistrada. On the racing front Troy Bayliss won the World Superbike Championship on the 75th anniversary of the company's founding and Ducati Corse announced its intention to take part in the GP World Championships from 2003 onward with their new Desmosedici engine. This was also the year that Ducati organised the first rider's school for women and brought the Motogiro d'Italia back after many years. 2001 will also be remembered for the deaths of Bruno Cavalieri Ducati, the last of the three brothers who founded the company, and of Fabio "Dr. T" Taglioni, father of the 90° twin-cylinder engine, still the hallmark engine of Ducati motorcycles.
2002 will go down in history for the launch of the 999, "Bike of the Year" according to the British MotorCycle News magazine, whereas, in the World Superbike Championship, Ducati won its eleventh Manufacturers' Title.
Finally, after three years of intense development efforts, in 2003 the Multistrada was on the road. This was also a special year for Ducati Corse with the return to the Grand Prix with riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi, along with the Desmosedici V4 engine. The results in this debut year exceeded all expectations with a second place overall in the Manufacturers' classification. In the World SBK Championship, Ducati won the Riders' Title again with Neil Hodgson, along with the Manufacturers' Title.
2004 World Ducati Week Edition exceeded the success of the previous years and on the Misano Adriatico stage, Federico Minoli, then president and CEO, announced the company's next dream project: the Desmosedici RR, a limited-edition road replica of the amazing MotoGP motorcycle.
November 2005 saw the announcement of the the Hypermotard, set to begin production in 2007. In December, the controlling shareholders of Ducati changed from TPG to the Italian company Investindustrial.
In 2006, the Desmosedici RR was launched at the Italian MotoGP in Mugello. The Superbike 1098, the successor of the 999, was also announced and voted "Best Design".
2007 has been an eventful year for Ducati, beginning with Gabriele Del Torchio becoming the new CEO in May, taking over Federico Minoli's former position. In June, the WDW2007 took over the Misano Adriatico circuit once again for four days and set records of every type - over 50,000 people and 20,000 bikes. This is also the year that three new bikes were released with amazing success: the 1098, the Hypermotard and the Desmosedici RR. However, 2007 will be forever remembered as the year that Ducati took its first MotoGP World Title - the first in 33 years for an Italian company - won by Casey Stoner and the Desmosedici GP07 on September 23 at the Motegi track in Japan.