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Marianna

The Marianna was the first Ducati equipped with a bevel-gear single-cylinder engine.

In 1955, the Modena-born rider Gianni Degli Antoni won the 3rd edition of the Motogiro d’Italia racing a Gran Sport 100 cc. (photo by Breveglieri)

Giuliano Maoggi into action during the 1956 Motogiro d’Italia on the Marianna 125.

 
 

Ever since it appeared on the scene in 1955, the Ducati Gran Sport caught the imagination of enthusiasts everywhere. Even today, the bike remains part of the collective consciousness of the motorcycling world.

The list of its victories is staggering, but this is not enough to explain its fame.
The Marianna could probably be described as the aesthetic manifesto of a racing machine. It was not designed with styling as an objective. It represents a rare and pure intersection of form and function.
The true history of Ducati sporting began in 1955. Everything that had come before must be considered no more than an appetizer.

During the decade of the 50s, the great passion throughout Europe, was for racing. Races such as the "Gran Fondo", "Milano-Taranto", and "Motogiro" drew scores of aficionados and racers.

 

It was in this context that the then President of Ducati, Dr. Montano, hired a young engineer named Fabio Taglioni.

Taglioni was crazy for racing and good mechanics, and immediately tried to give Ducati a new slant of production. His mission: to produce a motorbike which could both win races and be mass-produced. Taglioni chose to develop a 100 cc, single-camshaft, bevel-geared bike.
This combination (to which Taglioni was to adhere for much of the rest of his career) was considered complex and costly. But Taglioni was given complete freedom: the result was the Gran Sport 100, or Marianna.

From the beginning the Gran Sport was in a class of its own. It proved itself by winning its first race hands down, and going on to dominate the Gran Fondo competitions. But perhaps the bike's greatest contribution was the part it played in demonstrating the possibility of mass producing bikes with capacities of up to 350 cc. The Marianna symbolized the new Ducati philosophy: to create mass-produced bikes capable of wining races.

The Marianna excelled on the racetrack and was successfully used by riders all over the world right up to the beginning of the 60's. It won a remarkable number of races: particularly noteworthy were the two "Milano-Taranto", and three "Motogiro", the last of which produced an incredible result - six Gran Sport bikes taking the first six places.

The development of these bikes for competition is equally interesting.
After the temporary twin camshaft of 1956 came the triple camshaft desmo, one of the most brilliant examples of Taglioni's approach to racing.
Despite the seeming complexity of three shafts, they successfully circumvented the need for springs and allowed the Ducati 125 Gran Premio to smoothly operate at 12,500 rpm.

Palmares

1955
1st 125cc Milano-Taranto
Giuliano Maoggi
1955
1st 100cc Milano-Taranto
Giovanni Degli Antoni
1955
1st Motogiro d'Italia (100)
Giovanni Degli Antoni
1956
1st 24 Horas de Montjuic (125)
Fargas/Ralach
1956
1st 100cc Milano-Taranto
Alberto Gandossi
1956
1st 100 Junior Championship  
Franco Farnè
1956
1st Motogiro d'Italia (100)
Alberto Gandossi
1956
1st 125cc Milano-Taranto
Giovanni Degli Antoni
1956
1st Motogiro d'Italia (125)
Giuliano Maoggi
1957
1st 100 Juniores Championship
Franco Farnè
1957
1st Motogiro d'Italia (100)
Giuseppe Mandolini
1957
1st Motogiro d'Italia (125)
Antonio Graziano
1960 1st 125 Italian Cadetti Trophy
Sisto Accorsi

Technical specification

  • ENGINE

  • TRANSMISSION

  • CHASSIS

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