World Superbike : Ducati

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Founded by three brothers, Adriano, Marcello and Bruno Ducati in 1926, Ducati was originally established to create a variety of components for radios. Over the following years, Ducati grew in size and constantly had to move and upgrade their premises and facilities.

It wasn't until 1944 when the first 'motorbike' was manufactured - the Cuccicolo, a small engine designed to be attached to a push-bicycle. Six years and 20,000 Cuccicolo sales later, Ducati manufactured and released their first, full and proper motorbike in 1950. A mere 60cc, the "55m" or "65TL" weighed 98kg and had a top speed of 40mph.

1952, and the Ducati we know today began to transpire. An early Milan show was the stage for Ducati's first larger motorbikes, the Cruiser and the 65 TS cycle. Not a resounding success, a year later things changed drastically, new management were brought in and Ducati started to mass produce bikes - up to 120 bikes a day.

Over the next 50 years, Ducati changed hands several times and each time being an improvement on the last - probably for the fact each management brought new ideas.

The 1980's saw the introduction of the world-famous 916, 996 and 999 superbikes, whilst the 1990's manufactured improvements on these.

With a variety bikes currently in their line-up, Ducati are consistently producing high quality bikes for both racing and on-road.

Providing racing bikes and teams on and off since the early 1970's, Ducati has seen a selection of riders taking their bikes around the track. However, without a doubt the most famous and successful is Carl Fogarty. Riding for Ducati since the mid 1990's, Fogarty is the most successful World Superbike racer and is known for his aggressive competitiveness. Although retired since 2000 due to injury, Fogarty still has a keen interest in World Superbikes and in 2002 he setup Foggy Petronas, his own team in conjunction Petronas that would have riders race in the World Superbikes.

With popular racers Troy Corser's and James Haydon on board, Foggy Petronas should have been a successful team. Although they reached regular top five positions, they never managed pole position and Petronas backed out of the team in 2006. Failing to find sponsorship in 2007, the team were expected to return in 2008 but never did so and all the teams assets were put up for sale

A regular columnist in various magazines and correspondent, Fogarty is known for his strong views, often causing controversy, making Fogarty a figure in the racing world superbikes that is definitely a love or hate one.

Not forgetting to cater for the public, Ducati have always ensured that their on-road bikes are just as good - both looks and performance wise - as their racing bikes. Of course, the Ducati motorbike insurance isn't cheap, but it's not expected to be when you're driving a road version of a world class superbike.

Mention Ducati to any motorbike enthusiast and you can be sure you'll be greeted with a smile and a nod of the head - motorcyclist's love Ducati and Ducati love's them.

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