Want to visit Museo Ducati? Terrific idea. Including round-trip flights to Italy, hotels, food and other
expenses, you’ll likely to be north of five big ones, per head. The alternative: “Museo Ducati,” just $39.95, a magnificent publication from David Bull Publishing, an organization that produces books every genuine enthusiast needs. As usual, production values are dazzlingly fine.
This is Bull’s third major Ducati book. As before, he has created a memorable contribution to the literature. Ducati Corse MotoGP press officer Chris Jonnum built the words, and internationally respected
photographer Peter Harholdt provided the pictures.
Twenty-five racebikes are featured, from the 1946 Cucciolo (“puppy”) motorized bicycle to Nicky Hayden’s GP10 MotoGP machine, including those ridden by many iconic winners: Mike Hailwood (250cc Desmo Twin and IoM TT 900SS), Paul Smart (Imola 750 Desmo), Marco Lucchinelli (BOT 750 F1), Raymond Roche (851 SBK), Doug Polen (888 SBK), Carl Fogarty (916 SBK), Loris Capirossi (Desmosedici GP3 and GP6), Neil Hodgson (999 SBK), Troy Bayliss (Imola 996 and SBK F08) and Casey Stoner (GP7).
The format: Show the whole machine in profile, provide a paragraph of descriptive data (in English
and Italian, as is the whole book) and add well-captioned detailed photos portraying some of the most
compelling engineering details. Specifications boxes—hard to read because they’re printed in reversed type
or black-on-gray—provide basic technical data.
Anyone who knows and loves Ducati—what’s not to love?—will find Harholdt’s luminous photos compelling, showing levels of motorcycle technology, unfolding over six decades, that delight the eye. There isn’t a dull page, though gearheads might want more fairing-off stuff.
This is not a technology book, as were Bull’s earlier volumes, and Jonnum’s prose is spare, leaving the
reader thirsting for more. We get the basic facts, but layout and space considerations prevented longer
discussion of the machines and their histories.
The museum holds only racebikes. So, no Monster (reportedly accounting for half of Ducati’s revenues),
Hypermotard or, sadly, MH900E. Indeed, one of the most remarkable machines on display is not even mentioned: the 100cc streamliner that took 44 world records at Monza, including 171.9-kph speed and
1000K in less than six hours. Bull explained that extracting this marvelous machine for photography was
A few minor historical errors could have been avoided. Peugeot used desmodromic valves in 1912 (based
on the Indy-winning L76 motor), decades before the 1955 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula 1 car that supposedly inspired Ducati to “go desmo.” And if you wonder how the building looks, you’ll have to go there, since no photo is included.
Minor niggling aside, this is a wonderful book, a labor of love by David Bull and a perfect solution for those of us who cannot afford an in-person visit to Museo Ducati.