The Ducati bevel-gear twin-cylinder with a 90° V configuration (the “L-twin”) was born and bred on the last day of winter in 1970.
On that very day, the famous Ducati engineer Fabio Taglioni drew the design that would turn the tide from the single-cylinder Desmodromic engine to the L-twin Desmodromic configuration.
Ducati, with Taglioni’s help, had set the path forward for the engine platform would later be responsible for the Italian National Anthem being the most well recognized song at Superbike racetracks around the world.
The final motorcycle that was created from Taglioni’s design was called the Ducati 750GT, a very modish sort of motorcycle in which the engine played the central role. For motorcycle race enthusiasts, the motorcycle’s potential was immediately apparent. For Ducati the 1970s were about many great racing victories, which have inspire Ducati race fanatics to this day.
Paul Smart’s legendary victory at the Imola 200 Miles in 1972 assured his eternal fame with Ducati lovers. Cook Neilson became one of Ducati’s racing icons when he won at Daytona in 1977, riding the “California Hot Rod” aka “Old Blue”, a Ducati 750 SS prepared by his editor at Cycle magazine, Phil Schilling. Ducati gained more attention as Cycle magazine readers followed the month-after-month “Racer Road” series that captured the attention and imagination of American motorcyclists.
This was the first time in history that an Italian motorcycle had won a production-based race in the United States. The Ducati L-twin now opened the public’s eye to the speed, style and overall potential of the Bolognese company to succeed in the American market. This was facilitated by Ducati’s ability to win races on the prized American soil of the Daytona International Speedway.