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 Ducati Desmodromic Engine inventor Fabio Taglioni

The Great Ride. Mike Hailwood starts his winning ride in the 1978 Formula One race

Mike Hailwood on his Desmo 'Barcone' Ducati 1960 Ultra Lightweight TT

The legendary engineer died at home in Bologna, Italy.

Born on September 10, 1920 in Lugo di Romagna, Italy, Taglioni graduated as an engineer in 1943 and began his career as designer for the racing team of Mondial, an Italian motorcycle manufacturer. His career at Ducati began May 1, 1954 as Technical Director. In record time, he developed a single-cylinder 100cc engine, which drove the Ducati Gran Sport models.

Affectionately known as the Marianna, this motorcycle won three victories in the Moto Giro race and two in the Milan-Taranto race between 1955 and 1957. In 1957, Taglioni’s stroke of genius was the creation of the Desmo 125 Trialbero in 1957. It was powered by the first Ducati desmodromic engine. The Desmo engine - with its unique valve-operating system - was a revolution both for the Company and for the entire motorcycle industry. This innovative engine design continues to help Ducati dominate the World Superbike Championships, and to date has brought the Company nine victories in the last eleven years. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Taglioni increased the power of his single-cylinder engine, preparing the ground for countless new models, including many Gran Prix championship winners. In the early ‘70s, Engineer Taglioni designed a 90-degree L-twin engine configuration still present in all Ducati motorcycles today.

Among the many victories of this early Desmo Twin, perhaps the most memorable were Paul Smart’s triumph at the 200 Miles of Imola race, and in 1978 the legendary return of Mike Hailwood at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. Fabio Taglioni’s career, fuelled by his passion for motorcycle engines and racing, was fundamental in assuring Ducati’s international renown for building some of the greatest racing and performance motorcycles in the world.

Taglioni was single-mindedly dedicated to Ducati and continued to contribute to its successes until 1989. “‘Dr. T’, as Taglioni was known by Ducatisti, bestowed on our bikes the sophisticated mechanics and technology which distinguish them on an international stage, and which render them unbeatable on the racetrack,” said Carlo Di Biagio, Ducati Chief Executive Officer. “Without Taglioni’s ingenuity and invaluable contribution to Ducati, it would be a very different company today.

We will remember him with great affection.” “I remember engineer Taglioni with tremendous affection and endless respect. One of the great moments for me at ducati was to see doctor T at the first-ever world Ducati weekend in 1998. when dr. T got on the stage to address the crowd, five thousand motorcyclists revved their engines in tribute. The whole ducati management team and myself... we had tears in our eyes. This was the man who built it all. It was an unforgettable moment. We will all miss him.”

Federico Minoli Chairman,
Ducati motor holding spa

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