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Viva DUCATI - Curriculum & Book Reviews







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Curriculum & Book Reviews Print E-mail

Title:          The Grand Prix Motorcycle


ImageThe Official Technical History In The Grand Prix Motorcycle: The Official Technical History, author Kevin Cameron describes how each year’s championship-winning machine was created and refined, beginning with the 1949 AJS “Porcupine” E90 and carrying through to Valentino Rossi’s 2008 Yamaha M1. Between these defining bikes are Italy’s dominant MV Agustas and Gileras that ruled until the mid ’70s; the game-changing Japanese two-strokes from Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda; and the new MotoGP era machines, including Casey Stoner’s 2007 Ducati. In addition to analyzing each bike individually, with full technical specifications presented in data panels, Cameron presents 14 longer essays covering major “eras of design” in championship racing. These are illustrated with the defining bike of that era stripped of its bodywork to reveal its engine, suspension and other components.

Author/Publisher:     Kevin Cameron | David Bull Publishing, 2008 | 216 pages |

To Order, contact JRossi@VivaDUCATI. Cost: $39, plus shipping.



ImageL I M I T E D   E D I T I O N

Title:        2007 DUCATI Yearbook

                Officially licensed product of DUCATI Corsa


This is a limited edition, one-time only printing of 300 copies (with fewer than 260 remaining), Official 2007 Yearbook from DUCATI Corsa. Published in January 2008, this is a beautiful 144-page, hardcover book that recaps the dramatic MotoGP season dominated by Casey Stoner and the Desmosedeci GP7 with 10 wins to secure the 2007 MotoGP World Championship Title.

Over 230 big, beautiful color photos convey the sensational season by Casey Stoner, Loris Capirossi, and the Ducati 999 Superbike team members, Troy Bayliss, Ruben Xaus, and Lorenzo Lanzi. Concise text throughout the book is in English and Italian. The photos are what tell the story here. Own and display this highly coveted, limited edition Official 2007 Yearbook from Ducati Corsa recapping DUCATI’s most shining racing year to date.

To reserve your copy, contact JRossi@VivaDUCATI. Cost: $95 includes shipping within 48-US states.


Title:          MotoGP Season Review 2007

                  Officially licensed product of MotoGP


ImageThis official 2007 Season Review follows a successful format of lively race-by-race analysis with an astonishing collection of race data including of each MotoGP rider and team. Details include: qualifying times with gaps to the pole-winning time; graphic lap-by-lap performance charts showing each rider’s progress (or backward slide through the field); race-, lap-, and fastest-lap times; the average speed for each rider; track maps with sections annotated with average speed and gear selection choices; points standings; and a thumbnail report of each rider’s race.

To Order, contact JRossi@VivaDUCATI. Cost: $36 includes shipping within 48-US states.


Hundreds of Titles @ VivaDUCATI Bookstore.


Title:          Fast Company

                  A Memoir of Life, Love, and Motorcycles in Italy                                                        

ImageDavid M. Gross insightfully sees raw as real in his role as Creative Director at Ducati Motor Holding — a tenacious US management transplant that helped turn the bankrupt motor company around in 1996 when he chose Bologna, Italy over the NYC corporate legal grind. In his book ‘Fast Company,” David has extracted what is most real from DUCATI’s inner workings, raw antics, and rich heritage to form the cornerstone for rebuilding the brand. Labor disputes, production line passion where the beasts are born, high sexual energy, and the very real dance between life and death as a motorcyclist all come alive through his free-wheeling writing and uncensored optic. David’s attention to detail and nuance that fuels human desire reveals the soul of an artist and nomination as a full fledged Italian. Bravo for renewing DUCATI and for your honesty into the brand that most people perceive they know and believe in. This book delivers the passionate pulse of DUCATI.

Author/Publisher:     David M. Gross | Farrarn Straus and Giroux, 2007 | 325 pages | $14.00

Professor:               John M. Rossi, VivaDUCATI Founder         


ImageSubject:          DUCATI History 101                                                         

New to DUCATI or a long-time motorcycling enthusiast, you can gain a full understanding behind the company (1926 – 2000) before it became a 21st Century branded commodity, a fashion statement, and a publicly traded company.

Book reviewed:       DUCATI, Design in the Sign of Emotion,

Author/Pubisher:   Decio Guilio & Riccardo Carugati | MPI Publishing, 2001                                                  Hardcover color, 157 pages  | $39.95  

Professor:             John M. Rossi, VivaDUCATI Founder                       

Syllabus & Overview

With the introduction of the new Ducati 1098 Superbike, I find it helpful to pause and reflect on Ducati’s successful design history and evolution as a company. Having been immersed in the recent decade of design methodology by Pierre Tereblanche, Director of Ducati Design in creating the Super-Mono, Multi-Strada, MH900, the 999 Superbike, ST-Models, Sport Classics, and Hyper Motard, this retrospective deepens my foundation of Ducati as my design critique and opinions form around the new 1098 as the successor to the 999—a story and test ride for another day.

Image This lovely hardcover book “DUCATI—Design in the Sign of Emotion” is one of several Ducati books in my library. This is a wonderful pictorial history of the Ducati Company from its humble beginning in 1926 through 2000. The language is a bit choppy having been translated from its Italian authors Decio Guilio and Riccardo Carugati by Richard Sadleir but, it is easier to follow than many translated shop manuals I have used.

My few nit-picky points with this book are poor chronology of company management and design leadership, complete oversight of specific Ducati models, too much emphasis on American pop culture of the 1960’s, although influential to our sport. Lastly, there are far too many quotes from Melissa Holbrook Pierson’s 1997 book The Perfect Vehicle—an insightful piece of motoring-prose through a poetic female riders perspective however, the recorded annals of Ducati is a monumental story that stands on its own merits — with all due respect Melissa.

What DUCATI, Design in the Sign of Emotion does a particularly good job of is covering the early history of Ducati through the 1980’s. Here’s just a snap-shot the book and the lessons it offers.


The story that begins in October, 1926 when brothers Antonio and Adriano Cavalieri Ducati and colleagues set-up their budding radio-electric factory called Societa Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati in 3-rooms on Via Collegio di Spagna 9, Bologna, Italy. Adriano Cavalieri Ducati, at twenty years old, established the first bilateral short wave radio link between Italy and the Unites States—an advancement that would enabled a ship to maintain communications with five continents simultaneously. This coincided with acclaimed, Nobel Prize recipient, Guglielmo Marconi’s return to his birthplace, Bologna, Italy to receive an honorary doctorate from the University for his scientific discovery in radio communications. It was an exciting time when electronic communication began to change the world.


ImageBy 1943, Ducati grew to 4500 workers and was navigating the turbulent era of World War II. The Brothers Ducati were sympathetic to the Allied forces and faked compliance to German High Command to dismantle their factory and transfer its irreplaceable equipment and entire workforce to Germany and Austria. Ducati’s equipment was secretly moved to seventy underground locations and allied bombing raids found the factories empty unlike BMW’s fate where both its factories and equipment were completely destroyed. With great drama and intrigue, the Brothers Ducati were acquitted on charges of collaborating with the enemy.

ImageThe diversified product line of 1940’s included precision radios, film projectors, cameras, calculators, and shavers. Ducati’s entry into motorized, two-wheeled transportation occurred with the post-war production of the Cuccuilo (coo-chi-low—Italian for puppy or cub) in 1946. The Cuccuilo was a 50cc, two-stroke engine that retrofitted to any bicycle creating an early hybrid of the most common form of transportation at the time. This was not an isolated invention but, a knowledge transfer of the many micro-engines developed during wartime use such as starting airplanes. From a network of Italian inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs was born the Ducati Cucciolo, Vespa, Lambretta, Piaggio, and the Isetta.



Ducati brought a high-degree of standardization and precision compared to other manufacturers at the time. And thanks to the little Cucciolo, a half a million Italians between 1946 and 1950 learned to love and use an engine/human powered, two-wheeled machine. Cucciolo customers were common folks – store clerks, woman, priests, and older people whose knees were too stiff to peddle. Big-bore motorcycles of the day were seen as a purely ‘work’ oriented vehicles. Most were noisy, dirty, and dangerous. A mode of transportation reserved for farmers or laborers who could show up to work, dirty, oily, and poorly dressed. The Ducati Cucciolo motorized-bicycle hybrid was a clean, efficient mode of transportation embraced by the masses of Italy and in some ways fueled the negative stigma of bigger motorcycles.

ImageBy the 1950’s Ducati’s little motorized-bicycle shed its peddles and the consumer moped was born. Ducati now offered several models in 5cc increments from 50cc to 65cc. The need for speed, competition, and self-expression emerged with street races being held in nearly every Italian City as well as grueling 1000 kilometer endurance races. Leather jackets like ones used by Allied aviators adorned with helmets and goggles became the fashion of those in pursuit of two-wheeled speed while most citizens commuted ‘cleanly’ wearing everyday street clothes.

The acclaimed Italian engineer and designer, Fabio Taglioni, was being courted by Ford Motor Company as well as Ducati around 1953. He was recognized for the successful race bike he created for Mondail. Luckily for Ducatisti around the world, Taglioni chose the Ducati challenge to build winning race-bikes over mass-produced, Detroit built Ford automobiles. The result was the birth of the Taglioni designed, bevel head single and the creation of the Ducati GS100 — a motorcycle that won everything from 1954 to 1957 including setting new world speed record at Monza.


ImageThe success of Taglioni’s 100cc motor was the foundation for subsequent 200, 250, 350, 450cc machines through the 1960’s. The iconic American Imagery of the ‘Wild Ones” and “Rebel without a Cause” had its  influence on Ducati design in the development of the ‘Elite’ a street dress motorcycle and particularly the Scrambler duel-sport.




ImageWith Italy’s self imposed restrictions on machines greater than 500cc mainly to the benefit of FIAT, Ducati saw beyond these confines to an American market and world racing scene. Thus came Ducati’s first big-bore L-twin, 750GT in 1971. This was their first bike to sport a fiberglass fuel tank and disk brake. This brute of a machine was smooth, powerful, and stable. Its success as a street-bike was complemented by its wins against many factory race machines on circuits around the world by racers such as Mike Hailwood.

Taglioni not only built the machines that strengthened Ducati’s international credibility, but he helped to plan and build the Ducati factory and guide racers on the intricacies of gear ratios and power deliver of the bikes he designed as applied to a particular race course. He was courted by most major Japanese manufacturer as well as by Ferrari and Maserati yet, his loyalty remained with Ducati.



Into the 1980’s,  Ducati management changed as did its machines. The Pantha sported race inspired bodywork and was the halfway generation of Taglioni’s L-twin bevel drive and the new belt-driven, single-cam, desmo-dronic valve system used in today’s Ducati motorcycles. By 1987, Ducati fans the world over would see the new 851 Superbike emerge from the hands of Massimo Bordi. This L-twin went on to with the World Superbike Title among a field traditionally dominated by 4-cylinder Japanese manufacturers.


While at its peak of race technology and fully faired machines such as the 851, Ducati brought the naked Monster to market in 1993 reflecting on the simplicity of the Elite and Scrambler of 30-years prior with an air-cooled engine. The Monster, with its shamelessly explicit architecture was a pure plaything for adults. The same year, Pierre Tereblanche designed the Supermono exclusively for racing—one of the finest, most competitive single cylinder bikes ever built — and perhaps complementing Massimo Tamburini’s inspiration for the 916. The 916 was recognized as the motorcycle of the decade, taking its place at the top of the Guggenheim spiral for design achievement and proving its ferocity by winning world SBK championships in 1994, 95, 96, and 98 in the capable hands of such racing greats as Carl Foggarty.


As my review of DUCATI, Design in the Sign of Emotion began with a reflection to the past, that is where it draws to an end in 2000 with Pierre Tereblanche’s inspiration from Ducati’s own museum collection. Pierre’s successful effort to combine memory with modern technology was the basis to conceive, design, and produce the MH900e, the Mike Hailwood evolution. A limited edition collector bike that was pre-sold on the internet by Ducati before a singe one arrived throughout their worldwide dealer network. The MH900e is the last production model covered in the book.

VivaDUCATI Societa di Motociclista can register and LOGIN to order their own copy of DUCATI, Design in the Sign of Emotion for $39.95 + shipping at the VivaDUCATI Bookstore. Browse hundreds of other books, DVD’s, and products related to motorcyclists.

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