Franco Farné is a name that has accompanied Ducati and all of its motorcycles for the past 50 years. When Fabio Taglioni arrived and revolutionised Ducati’s technique, Farné had already professionally raced the Cucciolo and was working as a mechanic in the factory.
Although Farné had limited success as a racer, his contributions as a test driver and a mechanic were fundamental to Ducati’s achievements, from Mike Hailwood’s triumphant return to Ducati on the Isle of Man to Paul Smart’s victory in the Imola 200 Miglia.
In the 1970s, Farné was part of the small nucleus of experts that kept Ducati’s racing department up and running. In those years, the racing department was separated from the rest of the factory and therefore also outside the state controlled management that ran the rest of the company. Ducati’s top racing bikes were created within a separate structure known as NCR, named for Giorgio Nepoti and Rino Caracchi. In those years, Franco Farné and Fabio Taglioni were the only people that really believed in the importance of racing for Ducati’s overall success; the state controlled management did not appreciate the image and prestige that come with winning a race. As a result, Farné and Taglioni were constantly struggling to make ends meet with scarce economic resources.
In the 1980s and 1990s, under the direction of the Castiglioni brothers, Farné continued to work for Ducati, now in the internal racing department. In 1996, when he was 62 years old, he was eligible for retirement but continued to work for Ducati. In 2000, Farné went to work for Bimota to manage their World Superbike team. When the Bimota SBK team failed, because their sponsors didn’t come through, Farné went back to work with the NCR team, a move that essentially brought him back to Ducati.
50 years after entering Ducati, this historic technician continues to dedicate his time and his expertise to the Borgo Panigale brand.