The man who invented the Desmo dies

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Fabio Taglioni, the man who invented Ducati’s famous Desmodromic engine, has died at his home in Bologna at the age of 80.

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. 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 Motogiro 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 – continues to help Ducati dominate the World Superbike Championships, and to date has brought the company nine victories in the last 11 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° V-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 Imola 200 race, and in 1978 the legendary return of Mike Hailwood at the Isle of Man TT.

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. "

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff