From the very beginning, as a motorcycle manufacturer Ducati has always felt the need to compete in – and win – competitions, driven by the firm belief that races are the perfect test bench for developing technologies and processes that also improve the production of standard models.
This may seem funny, but from the time of the Cucciolo, races have been organised not far from the factory in Borgo Panigale to test riders and, above all, motorcycles. A racing division has therefore always existed within Ducati, and this is demonstrated by the long list of successes achieved by the Bolognese motorcycles over the years.
For the same reason, in 1988 Ducati decided to take to the track in the SBK World Championship, allocating important resources to it, first directly and then outsourcing the management of its motorcycles to external teams. A strategic choice followed by a long list of victories and titles, so much so that from 1991 to 2013 Ducati could boast the singular record of having won more competitions than the sum of the victories of all other manufacturers. The competitiveness of the Ducati models deployed for the SBK World Championship is further demonstrated by the many customers who bought and still buy bikes from Borgo Panigale to race in national competitions and in the World Championship itself.
With a growing commitment and Ducati's return to management of the official team, in 1999 Ducati Corse was founded, a company in its own right but still part of Ducati Motor Holding. The new division enjoyed great success from the start, with Carl Fogarty winning the SBK title that very year. The 996 obviously brought the Constructors' title to Borgo Panigale, while in the British Superbike Championship (BSB) a certain Troy Bayliss earned top honours riding the 996 of the GSE team. In the Italian Superbike Championship, Paolo Casoli came out on top with the Gio.Ca.Moto team.