Ducati's commitment to the SBK Championship from 1990 allowed it to achieve its dream of winning its first title with the Ducati 851 just two years later, the first twin-cylinder fitted with a 4-valve Desmoquattro engine. The French rider, Raymond Roche, won the first riders' title for the Bologna-based team in 1990. This was just the start of an incredible run up the championship ladder for Ducati, with bikes based on the standard production models. During these years, in fact, Ducati raced with its 851, 888, 916 and 996 bikes, totting up an amazing number of titles with riders who became legends in the history of the SBK, first and foremost Carl Fogarty, but also Doug Polen, Troy Corser and Giancarlo Falappa.
As regards the production of road motorcycles, Ducati wrote one of the most amazing and intense pages of its history. Based on the experience gained on the racing track, the 851 and 888 became the first road Superbikes available to the general public and enthusiasts. 1993 saw the launch of the Monster, a bike that is still Ducati's biggest commercial success, followed in 1994 by the 916, the bike that rewrote the history of road motorcycles in the ‘90s and is still considered to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever built. Finally, Claudio Domenicali - a key figure in the new generation of Ducati engineers - designed his Supermono bike, an exotic and very successful project.
However, despite its success in SBK and significant acclaims in the road bike sector, Ducati was unable to avoid yet another crisis, brought about by the occasionally unwise management policies of the Cagiva Group, which was forced to sell Ducati to the American investment fund Texas Pacific Group in September 1996. The new management team made some extensive changes in its administration, commercial and marketing policies that strengthened Ducati to the point where it became one of the strongest motorcycle brands on the market.
Simultaneously, the launch of the ST family allowed Ducati to enter the Sport Touring segment of the market.
The new management team, together with the old group of engineers responsible for product development, turned the company around posting quarter after quarter of record sales and profits.
The great success of this period was the Monster Dark, which was the best selling motorcycle in Italy in 1998 and 1999.
Ducati started changing from a purely manufacturing company to an entertainment company. It now provides a full motorcycling experience, centered on the technical excellence of its motorcycles but also extending to racing, heritage, accessories and apparel.
The first World Ducati Weekend underlined the newly found sense of the Ducati Community, bringing together in Misano 10,000 Ducatisti from all over the world.
The turnaround era culminated on March 24, 1999 with the listing of Ducati Motor Holding at the New York and Milan Stock Exchanges.