Gran Sport 125 Marianna

The Ducati Gran Sport “Marianna” was the first motorcycle equipped with a single-cylinder bevel gear driven engine.

Since its appearance in 1955, Ducati Gran Sport captured the imagination of fans all over the world. To this day this bike is still an iconic object for motorcycling enthusiasts all over the globe. 

Its wall of fame is impressive, though it is not enough to explain the fame this model still enjoys. The Marianna could be described as the aesthetic manifesto of racing motorbikes. Far from being merely an aesthetic product, it stands out as a rare, pure mix of form and function. 

The true racing history of Ducati started in 1955. 

Everything that had come before was simply a prelude. 

In the Fifties Europe was shook by an irresistible hype, the passion for motorcycle racing with the “Gran Fondo”, “Milano-Taranto” and “Motogiro” races and events winning the hearts of countless fans and riders. It is precisely in this environment that the then President of Ducati, Mr. Montano, hired a young engineer called Fabio Taglioni.

Taglioni was driven by unlimited passion for racing and mechanics, and immediately tried to change the pace of Ducati’s production. 

His mission was producing motorcycles able to win races while being suitable for industrial-scale production. Taglioni decided to develop a motorbike fitted with a single-camshaft, bevel gear driven 100cc engine. 

This combination (to which Taglioni remained true across most of his career) was considered complex and costly. 

Taglioni, though, was given a chance and the outcome was the Gran Sport 100, a.k.a. The “Marianna”. 

Since the very start the Gran Sport proved to be one of a kind. It proved its worth winning its first race and consistently dominating endurance events. Probably, though, the greatest exploit of this bike was proving that it was possible to make bikes with displacement up to 350cc on an industrial scale. 

The Marianna embodied the new Ducati philosophy: manufacturing bikes that could win races. 

The Marianna was extraordinary on the racetrack and successfully brought riders over the finish line all over the world since the start of the Sixties. It won countless races, more notably two editions of the “Milano-Taranto” and three editions of the “Motogiro”, the latter providing an incredible fun fact: six Gran Sport finished in the first six places. 

The development of this model for racing competitions is equally interesting. 

The temporary, double-camshaft set-up in 1956 was replaced by a triple-camshaft Desmodromic engine, one of the most brilliant examples of Taglioni’s very personal take on racing motorcycles. 

In spite of the apparent complexity of the three-camshaft structure, the designers managed to get rid of springs, allowing Ducati 125 Gran Premio to easily reach 12,500 rpm.

98 cc
Maximum power
9 hp at 9000 rpm
Maximum speed
115 km/h
Dry weight
80 Kg

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