The start of the Desmo age
The crisis of the Italian motorcycle market continued throughout the ‘60s with significant declines in sales, which also affected Ducati. The introduction of utility cars, the first being the Fiat 500, was the main cause of this collapse, along with the withdrawal of some of the historic Italian motorcycle brands from the racing scene in 1957, including Gilera, Moto Guzzi and Mondial.

The state administration hence decided to make drastic spending cuts in the management of the Borgo Panigale company, in both racing and road model manufacturing. Ducati went into a sort of "hibernation", from which it would only start to awaken from the mid ‘60s onwards.

During this period, projects focused on foreign markets, which were only converted for the Italian and world market in the years to come. 1962 saw the launch of the Scrambler 250 on the US market, which was to become a generation icon, especially on the Italian market. Moreover, in the early ‘60s , one of the most ambitious and unfortunate projects was developed, the Apollo, which saw the creation of the very first 90 degrees L-twin engine.

In 1964, the 250 cc model was added to the prestigious roster of commercial single cylinders, in the Diana, Monza, Aurea, and, later, GP types, capable of approximately 150 km/h - really exceptional performance for the time. This model directly influenced all subsequent single cylinders until the famous 250, 350 and 450 cc "Scrambler".

In 1967 Ducati decided to revolutionise its engines, introducing the Desmodromic system which, until then, had only been used on racing bikes. Two new engine displacements sizes, 350 and 450cc, were thus introduced and went on to be widely used also during the first half of the '70s. Despite not being able to officially compete in racing competitions, Ducati developed the Mach 250, capable of exceeding the 150km/h threshold, which gained it a special place in the heart of all sporting enthusiasts.

In 1968, Ducati bewitched bike aficionados with the fabulous performance of the 450 Mark 3D (more than 170 km/h), the first production Ducati with desmodromic distribution.

Finally, in 1969, also due to the appearance of the first Japanese maxi-bikes on the Italian and European markets, the Italian manufacturers started to update their models and reorganise their factories. It was in this year that Ducati expanded its factory plant in Borgo Panigale, creating new production areas and a new experience area were the first twin-cylinder racing and road bikes were produced, the 500 GP and the 750 GT.