On April 23, 1972, Ducati returned to racing, participating in the first
Imola 200 Miles at the Autodromo Dino Ferrari, in front of a volatile crowd of
The race was organized for 750 cc race bikes on basis of mass
production motorbikes, similar to today`s World Superbikes. The riders for
Ducati in this race were Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari.
Their 750 SS race
bikes were designed by engineer Fabio Taglioni, who gave them a new 4 stroke, 90
degree V-Twin cylinder engine. The cylinder heads of this engine were equipped
with the desmodromic valve control, which is typical for Ducati, single overhead
camshafts and twin ignition. Two powerful 40 mm Dell`Orto carburettors
controlled the fuel mixture generation and the standard exhaust device was
replaced by open megaphone pipes. The efforts were worth while: The 185 kg bike
had a power output of 80 hp @ 8,500 rpm - during the race even 10,000 rpm were
temporarily possible - and reached a top speed of about 270 km/h.
feature - also for later SS models - was a yellow stripe on the tank, which was
an open area on the transparent GFK tank, from which the liquid level could be
read. Smart and Spaggiari finished first and second against steeliest
competition from Italy, Great Britain and Japan. Smart`s average speed during
the race was 157.353 km/h, inclusive refuel stop.