The first 90 years of Ducati are a long tale of events and facts that make the brand absolutely unique. After its establishment in 1926, in 1946 the company began producing motorcycles that were soon to acquire their characteristic racing nature - featuring exclusive Desmodromic timing engines, innovative design and state-of-the-art technology, as well as a strong commitment to competitive racing.
These same characteristics are still the hallmark of a company that has gone through significant milestones such as 1954, the year in which engineer Fabio Taglioni (the 'father' of Desmo) joined Ducati, and the Motogiro or GP of Nations was won. In 1972, Ducati won the legendary 200 Mile race at Imola, with Paul Smart on a twin-cylinder 750, and in 1978 it triumphed at the Isle of Man TT with Mike Hailwood. Next up was the SBK victory achieved in 1988 by Marco Lucchinelli, which would lead up to as many as 17 Manufacturers World Titles and 14 Riders World Titles in total so far - making for a top-class Ducati string of achievements in this highly-competitive and prestigious world championship.
In 2003, Ducati entered the MotoGP Championship where, after only four years, it won the Manufacturers and Riders World Titles with Casey Stoner in 2007. In 2012, Ducati joined the Audi Group, continuing on the upward trend that has characterised its growth for the past five years, and sealing 2015 with record sales of more than 54,800 new motorcycles delivered to customers world-wide.
The increase in sales has led to a turnover figure in excess of 700 million Euro. Today, Ducati has a total of 1,541 employees, with 137 new hirings in the course of the past year and around 100 planned for 2016. The current year has kicked off in line with this growth trend, with first quarter deliveries reaching 13,336 motorcycles, a 26% increase on last year’s Q1 period, thus making it a new record result for first quarter sales. This superb start to the year can also be attributed to the organisational efforts made to provide our fans with the new models prior to the peak of the season.
Therefore the figures cannot be used to define an annual forecast, but undoubtedly provide encouraging signs pointing towards nearly double-digit growth in 2016. These figures portray a healthy, profitable company that looks to the future with optimism and confidence, on the strength of the great tradition and passion which have been the distinctive features of the first ninety years of its history and will always identify this legendary Italian manufacturer.
This important anniversary will be celebrated with an impressive number of organised events. First of all, the complete renovation of the Ducati Museum, created and opened in 1998 and visited by over 40,000 enthusiasts annually - making this the second most visited museum in Bologna. Work is already under way and will be completed in time for WDW2016 (to be held at the Misano World Circuit "Marco Simoncelli" from 1 to 3 July), the international Ducati gathering which, every two years, reunites Ducatisti from all over the world. In conjunction with the World Ducati Week, the Ducati Museum will pre-open for a limited period to then be once again fully operational and ready to welcome an even greater number of visitors starting late September 2016. Restructuring and upgrading are expected to lead to an increase in annual attendance of approximately 20%.
Among the most important new features of the Ducati Museum is a larger exhibition area for both historical racing motorcycles and the most significant production models - in addition to the digitisation of all the available information for future visitors.
WDW2016 will be the climax of all the 90th anniversary celebrations: all the values and sheer enthusiasm that have marked the first ninety years of the history of the brand, accompanying its constant growth, will be shared with the entire global community of Ducatisti.
On 4 July, which is actually the exact birthday of the company, celebrations will begin back at the factory and conclude with the start of a highly symbolic motorcycle world tour, revisiting and retracing the places and roads where the most significant pages of Ducati history were written. The trip will start in Borgo Panigale and continue across Europe and then along the legendary Trans-Siberian route through Russia, Mongolia, China and then Japan, to finally end up in the United States before returning to Europe. The world tour will conclude after covering the last few miles on Strada Statale della Futa, in the hills outside Bologna, (where many Ducati models were developed and road-tested in all these years), returning to Borgo Panigale where the expected finish date is 5 December 2016.
The world tour will include seven stages, for a total of nearly 20,000 miles to be covered by seven relay riders on the new Multistrada 1200 Enduro, featuring a special torch designed by the Ducati Style Centre, to symbolically carry around the world the flames of passion that have fuelled the Italian motorcycle manufacturer. The relay riders will be real globetrotters, to be chosen by Ducati among thousands of fans whose selection process has recently begun.
Other initiatives will complete Ducati's 90th anniversary celebrations, such as the production of a line of accessories and apparel all featuring the 90th anniversary logo. More great surprises are in the pipeline for the Ducatisti community: the coming months will be a crescendo of events for the manufacturer and its fans throughout 2016. The party has only just begun ...
"Ninety years is an important milestone, and Ducati wishes to celebrate it by recalling its history and planning its future", said Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, during the meeting at Palazzo D'Accursio. "It is great to be able to celebrate this achievement, aware of being a healthy, high-performance company, with all the necessary resources to encourage the further growth of the prestige and appeal of this extraordinary brand. It is an honour for us to be able to open the celebrations from the Sala Rossa of the City Hall of Bologna, a symbolic venue which confirms our close bond with the city and its institutions. The new Ducati Museum, a motorcycle world tour on the Multistrada 1200 Enduro, a special-edition WDW and a dedicated line of accessories and apparel are only the main initiatives planned to open the celebrations of this important Ducati anniversary. It will be a fantastic year".