Ducati Motorcycles: A Timeline of the History

Ducati is one of the most iconic motorcycle brands on the market. The Ducati brand is renowned for its passionate, stylish and performance-driven motorcycles and engines full of character. In this article, we'll take a look back at the past of Ducati, charting the company's journey from its humble beginnings to its current success.

Birth of Ducati

In 1926, Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three sons founded the Societá Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati in the city of Bologna, Italy. The fledgling company focused primarily on making components for the radio industry. The protagonists of the Ducati Motorcycle narrative were Bruno Cavalieri Ducati, Marcello Cavalieri Ducati, and Adriano Cavalieri Ducati.

By the 1930s, Ducati was already the biggest employer in Bologna, Italy. Even during the period of World War II, the company kept expanding output until their facility was badly hit by Allied airstrikes in 1944. Manufacturing was put on hold until 1945 when the brothers determined to build motorcycles.

In 1944, the Ducati brothers changed the company's focus, and decided to start producing simple, efficient and affordable motorcycles. Their first motorcycle was the Cucciolo, which was based on a 50 cc engine and could reach speeds of up to 40 mph. Ducati quickly gained a reputation for being reliable.

In 1949, Ducati released the 60, which is considered the first motorcycle that was completely manufactured by the company. Its success gave way to more inventive models that could compete with other well-known brands and ended up winning a number of races.

Next Milestones

In 1953, the company was divided into two distinct divisions, Ducati Meccanica SpA and Ducati Elettronica, to more accurately reflect the separate motorcycle and electronics product lines. Government support allowed for an upgrade of the Borgo Panigale facility, with Dr. Giuseppe Montano taking the lead.

The 1950s saw the release of Ducati's most iconic motorcycle, the Gran Sport. This model featured a four-stroke engine, which allowed it to reach speeds of up to 93 mph. The Gran Sport's success cemented Ducati's reputation as a manufacturer of powerful and stylish motorcycles. The chief designer of most Ducati motorcycles in the 1950s was Fabio Taglioni.

In the 1960s, Ducati made its mark in the world of motorcycling by introducing the Mach 1, which was the most rapid 250 cc road motorbike at that time. In 1962 Ducati introduced its first scrambler - the Scrambler 450.

In the 1970s Ducati began manufacturing motorcycles with large V-twin engines, which they named "L-twin" due to the 90° angle. They also unveiled their trademark desmodromic valve design in 1973. In 1971, the company released the iconic 750 SuperSport, which was the first production motorcycle to feature a desmodromic valve system. This system allowed for more power and precision from the engine, and it quickly became a staple of Ducati's performance-focused motorcycles. In 1978, Ducati also released their first electric start motorcycle, the Pantah. This model was the first Ducati motorcycle to feature fuel injection, making it much more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.

The 1980s saw Ducati continuing to push the boundaries of motorcycle performance, with the release of the iconic 851 Superbike in 1988. This model featured a four-valve, liquid cooled engine, and it was the first Ducati to feature a tricolor paint scheme. This was a huge milestone for the company, and it solidified Ducati's standing as a company that produces high-power and fashionable motorbikes.

The 1990s marked a significant turning point for Ducati, with the introduction of the 900 Superlight and Monster 900 models. The 900 Superlight was a powerful, lightweight motorcycle that featured the iconic Ducati desmodromic valve system and a powerful 893cc V-twin engine. This model was the very first Ducati motorcycle to feature a frame made from chrome-molybdenum steel, and it was capable of reaching speeds of up to 135 mph. The Monster 900, on the other hand, was a more affordable and accessible option for everyday riders. It featured a 904cc V-twin engine and a trellis frame, and it was the first Ducati model to be offered to the public in the popular yellow and red color scheme.

In the following decades, Ducati continued to release a series of innovative motorcycles, such as the groundbreaking Desmosedici RR in 2007. This high-performance sports motorbike featured a four-cylinder engine and was capable of reaching speeds of up to 186 mph. Today, Ducati continues to produce some of the most iconic and innovative motorcycles on the market, and the brand remains a popular choice amongst motorcycle enthusiasts.

Changes of Ownership

Similar to Moto Guzzi, Ducati went through some financial difficulties and changes of ownership. In 1985, Italian motorcycle manufacturer Cagiva acquired Ducati, ushering in a new era for the iconic brand. Cagiva invested heavily in Ducati and launched a series of new models, including the iconic 916 Superbike. However, despite their best efforts, Ducati continued to struggle financially and was eventually sold to Texas Pacific Group in 1996.

In 2012, Ducati was sold to Audi AG and Lamborghini, two renowned luxury car brands owned by the Volkswagen Group. This deal marked a new beginning for Ducati, as the company finally had the resources to invest in new technology, research and development, and marketing. The purchase was also a sign of Audi and Lamborghini's faith in Ducati's iconic brand, and the two companies have been instrumental in helping the company to reach new heights of success. Today, Ducati is one of the most recognizable and successful motorcycle manufacturers in the world and thriving under Audi’s ownership.

Iconic Models from the History of Ducati Motorcycles

1. 750 SuperSport (1971)

2. Pantah (1978)

3. 851 Superbike (1988)

4. 900 Superlight (1992)

5. Monster 900 (1996)

6. Desmosedici RR (2007)

7. Diavel (2010)

8. Multistrada 1200 (2010)

9. Superleggera V4 (2019)

10. Panigale V4 R (2019)

Racing Success

Ducati is one of the most successful motorcycle manufacturers in the world and their racing successes are legendary. One of their biggest achievements is their numerous victories at the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) races. In 1978, Ducati won their initial world title when Mike Hailwood triumphed at the Isle of Man TT in the TT Formula 1 World Championship. Subsequently, between 1981 and 1984 Tony Rutter took home four TT Formula 2 World Championship titles riding Ducati motorcycles.

The iconic Italian manufacturer has won a total of 33 TT races, including a record seven wins in the Superbike TT from 2009 to 2015. Their success in the Isle of Man TT is a testament to Ducati's long history of building powerful, fast and reliable motorcycles that have consistently dominated the race circuit.

Ducati has also had no shortage of success in MotoGP. In 2003, Ducati returned to Grand Prix motorcycle racing after a thirty-year gap. On September 23, 2007, Casey Stoner won the championship for Ducati and himself, marking their first Grand Prix World Championship.

The Italian manufacturer has won a total of nine Constructor's Championship titles, with their most recent championship win coming in 2020. This victory was also the first time that an Italian manufacturer had won the title since 1997. Ducati has also had a total of 18 individual rider championships, with the most recent win coming in 2019.

Ducati Today

Today, Ducati continues to be a popular choice amongst motorcycle enthusiasts. The brand has a long and storied history, and it has consistently pushed the boundaries of performance and style. From the humble beginnings of the Cucciolo to the groundbreaking Desmosedici RR, Ducati has created some of the most iconic and innovative motorcycles on the market. As the company continues to evolve, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for Ducati Motorcycles.

Modern classics:

Ducati Diavel

The Ducati Diavel is an iconic modern classic in the world of motorcycles. It features a powerful 1,198cc Testastretta 11-degree engine, an ultra-light aluminum frame, and a sleek and stylish design. It also comes equipped with advanced technology such as three ride modes, adjustable traction control, and a Bosch Cornering ABS system. This is one of the most powerful and versatile cruisers from Ducati, and it has been designed to offer a perfect blend of power, comfort, and style. The Ducati Diavel is an impressive and iconic modern classic that proves that Ducati remains at the forefront of motorcycle innovation.

Ducati Monster

The Ducati Monster is an iconic model from the Italian manufacturer, renowned for its classic looks and unmistakable design. The latest iteration of the Monster is powered by a Testastretta 11-degree V-twin engine, producing a maximum output of 95hp. It features a comfortable ergonomic design, advanced electronics such as traction control, and a lightweight Trellis frame. This modern classic is the perfect combination of power and style, with a design that is immediately recognizable as a Ducati Monster. The Ducati Monster is a timeless classic that is sure to please any motorcycle enthusiast.

Ducati Scrambler

The Ducati Scrambler is a modern classic. It combines the classic design of the first Ducati Scrambler from the 1960s with the latest technology and performance features. It features a powerful 803cc air-cooled L-twin engine, a lightweight trellis frame, and advanced electronics such as adjustable ABS and traction control. The Ducati Scrambler is a great combination of style and performance, perfect for both off-road and city riding.


Ducati has been producing motorcycles since 1945, and in the years since, they have become iconic symbols of performance and style. From the early days of the 750 SuperSport in 1971 to the modern wonders of the Superleggera V4 and Panigale V4 R, Ducati motorcycles have always been at the cutting edge of innovation and design. Over the years, Ducati has released a series of iconic models, each of which has shaped the motorcycle industry in its own unique way.

Looking back, it is easy to see how Ducati's history has been defined by a series of groundbreaking motorcycles. The 750 SuperSport was the first Ducati to feature a V-twin engine and a frame made from steel tubing, making it a revolutionary step forwards in the development of high-performance motorcycles.

When was Ducati first founded?

Ducati was founded in 1926 in Bologna, Italy by the three Ducati brothers, Adriano, Marcello, and Bruno as Società Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati. Initially, Ducati manufactured radio components and then turned to producing world-renowned motorcycles in 1946. Ducati has a long history and has gone through many changes over the years, but it continues to be a leader in the motorcycle industry.

What was the first Ducati motorcycle model?

The first Ducati motorcycle model released by the Italian manufacturer was the Cucciolo, in 1946. It was a 48cc, four-stroke single cylinder engine designed to attach to a bicycle frame. The Cucciolo quickly became popular in Italy and was exported to other countries around the world. It was the foundation for the Ducati brand, which has since become synonymous with Italian motorcycle engineering and design.

What is the most iconic Ducati motorcycle of all time?

The most iconic Ducati motorcycle of all time is the Ducati 916. This legendary bike was the top of the line machine when it was released in the mid-1990s and has become an icon in the motorcycle world. The air-cooled, 916cc desmodromic L-twin engine was capable of producing over 100 horsepower, making it a beast on the track. The Ducati 916 was known for its beautiful lines and bold styling, making it a timeless classic. Its achievements in Superbike racing are legendary as well, having won multiple world championships and countless races. In short, the Ducati 916 is the most iconic Ducati motorcycle ever and a true classic.

What innovations has Ducati made in the motorcycle industry?

Ducati has been pushing the boundaries of motorcycle technology for decades, and has revolutionized the industry with numerous innovative developments. From the evolution of the iconic Desmosedici GP motorcycle that dominated MotoGP from 2003 to 2007, to its iconic V-Twin engines, Ducati has been at the forefront of motorcycle engineering. Other innovative technologies include their Variable Valve Timing and Desmodromic Valve actuation systems, as well as their advanced Motronic fuel-injection system, which allows for precise control of engine parameters. All in all, Ducati has made extraordinary contributions to the motorcycle industry and continues to lead the way in technological advancements.

What are some of Ducati's latest most successful motorcycle models?

Ducati has produced some of the most iconic motorcycles in history, and some of the most successful models have been the Monster, the Diavel, the Hypermotard, the Panigale, and the Multistrada. The first Monster model was released in 1993, and it has since become Ducati’s most successful bike. The Diavel is a model that’s known for its aggressive styling and power. The Hypermotard is a versatile and lightweight supermoto that’s great for city riding. The Panigale is a track-ready superbike with unmatched performance. Lastly, the Multistrada is a versatile tourer with a powerful engine and advanced suspension. All of these models have been incredibly popular, and they’ve helped establish Ducati as one of the best motorcycle manufacturers in the world.

What motorsports championships has Ducati won?

Ducati has had a successful motorsports career, winning multiple championships over the years. Most notably, Ducati has won the FIM Superbike World Championship a record 16 times, with the most recent win coming in 2019. Ducati has also won the iconic Isle of Man TT race four times. In addition, Ducati has achieved success in the MotoGP World Championship, taking six riders' titles and seven constructors' titles. That's not to mention the manufacturers' titles in the CIV Italian Superbike Championship and the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. In short, Ducati has been a powerhouse in motorsports for decades and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon!

Who owns Ducati?

Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A., a subsidiary of Ducati, is based in Bologna, Italy and is responsible for the production of bikes. This company is owned by Lamborghini, an Italian automotive manufacturer, which is in turn owned by the German Audi, a firm part of the Volkswagen Group.