Bologna, Italy - (MCNW) Fabio Taglioni, the legendary engineer "Dr. T", whose name has become synonymous with that of Ducati's, passed away the evening of July 18, 2001, in his Bologna home from cardiac arrest. He was 80 years old.
Fabio Taglioni was born in Lugo di Romagna on September 10, 1920. His father, Biagio, was an engineer who owned a workshop where he passionately devoted himself to repairing engines, and, in particular, race engines. It was here that Fabio first developed his remarkable passion and talent for mechanical engineering. After finishing high school he studied engineering at the University of Bologna. However with the beginning of WWII in 1940, his studies were interrupted when he was drafted to fight. It was during the war, in 1942, that he married Norina, his life-long companion for the next sixty years.
After the war, in 1948, he received his degree in mechanical engineering for his thesis on the desmodromic valve control system. While working as a professor at the Alberghetti college in Imola, he created with his students his first motorcycle, a 48 cc bike called the "Tornado." The project caught the eye of the managing director of the motorcycle manufacturer FB Mondial, and Taglioni was hired as director of the racing department. While working at FB Mondial the sheer genius of his technical solutions were noticed by the General Director of Ducati, Giuseppe Montano.
Taglioni's 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 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 -- 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.
During his forty-year career at Ducati, Taglioni developed over 1,000 different engines, ranging from small bikes to super charged racing bikes. However, his name will forever be remembered in the world of motorcycles for his desmodromic system. Taglioni was the first to successfully apply this technology to motorbikes.
Fabio Taglioni's career, fueled 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."
Sincere condolences from all those who had the honour of knowing Fabio Taglioni and from all those who, thanks to his work, are proud to be part of the ever-growing World of Ducati.
The funeral ceremony takes place July 20, 2001, at the Church of San Severino, Largo Lecaro, Bologna, Italy.