It can be said that the overwhelming success of the Ducati "rosse" motorcycles started with the spectacular victories of the small 48 cc Cucciolo in 1947. Before the war, Ducati had become one of the largest international manufacturers of electric condensers with exports worldwide. It had a direct organization in the main capitals of the world and in an infinite number of cities. So after the war, when it introduced its own precision mechanics section to produce small engines for bicycles, it could rely on solid, influential friendships all over, and its victories in countless races was facilitated as a result. Noteworthy are the races of the Cucciolo, the minimum displacement engine (48 cc) which had never raced before.
In 1948, it was triumphant at the first Grand Prix of the City of Milan, which was fought out on the streets of the Milan Fairgrounds rebuilt from the devastation of the war. Out of the 60 competitors, Glauco Zitelli took first place on a series-produced Cucciolo 48 cc! In the same year, the Cucciolo garnered the World
Record for track endurance in Buenos Aires on the FC Oeste Racetrack during a fine race for all the bikes. The three riders, Laterza, Allegretti and Lanza, gave not one moment's peace to the others saddled on higher-powered motorcycles, and the enthusiastic public took constant turns during the night to cheer the racers on. After 36 hours, Lanza, Allegretti and Laterza were the undisputed rulers of the track, beating by a wide margin the previous world record set.
A certain Mr. Franchini, importer of the exceptional
micro-engine, when asked to comment, had this to say to the press:
"It is very surprising that these 48 cc micro-engines have achieved such a result, and even more surprising that they endured a struggle of 36 consecutive hours without undergoing even one breakdown, and consumed a total of 28 liters of gas."
Finally in 1948, the Cucciolo obtained another amazing victory: the record for distance with Giancarlo Tironi. Starting from Milan on August 7, 1948 to make his
way to the International Motorcycle Touring rally of New York (England) he traveled 1500 km on a series-produced 48 cc Cucciolo. Returning by way of major towns in England, passing the North Sea to the Irish Sea, then landing in Ostend, he crossed Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, and the Gran San Bernardo pass to lead his faithful Cucciolo back to the roads of his homeland. He arrived in Milan on September 16 after an incredible distance of 4600 km and a total weight of over 140 kg, without one failure to the Cucciolo engine or the replacement of a single part.
Each day, Tironi would send in his report, and this test of
the Cucciolo was the greatest proof of its efficiency, resistance and
solidity, as was so declared by the press in admiration:
"Cucciolo a greyhound! Every race a victory!"