750 Imola

Paul Smart’s 750 Imola 1972, the first L-twin-cylinder racing bike equipped with the Desmodromic system.

In 1972 Paul Smart, with the 750 Imola, triumphs in the “Imola 200 Miles”, one of the most significant victories of Ducati.

Bruno Spaggiari, Fabio Taglioni and Paul Smart at the end of the successful race.


The 750 Imola Desmo is one of the most famous bikes in the world. It is best known, and, of course named for, its victory with Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari in the "200 Mile race" at Imola in 1972 - one of the most spectacular in racing history. Much has been written about the fantastic final lap, which saw Smart and Spaggiari side by side almost all the way to the finishing line, but how this race changed the destiny of the Italian manufacturer has been relatively unexplored. The win at Imola defined Ducati's future approach to racing, with the manufacturer focusing its attention almost exclusively on production-derived machines. However, before discussing Smart, Imola and the legendary "number 16", we must take a step back in time.

In 1972 Checco Costa brought the 200 Mile formula to Italy and Ducati prepared eight bikes to be ridden by Paul Smart, Bruno Spaggiari, Ermanno Giuliano, and Alan Dunscombe. The bikes had production frames and engines, but were prepared, as usual, in a very short time. Most of this work, however, probably still

goes unnoticed, as it was concerned with the smallest details: wherever possible, each part of the bike was painstakingly filed down and lightened. In addition, new Dellorto carburetors with 40 mm choke tubes and accelerator pumps arrived just in time, providing a perfect supply of fuel for the big twin-cylinder, which delivered 80 hp at 8,500 rpm.

At Imola, Spaggiari reached the finish line with his gas tank almost empty and so could not snatch the victory from Smart.



23/04/1972 1° 200 Miglia di Imola
Paul Smart
23/04/1972 2° 200 Miglia di Imola
Bruno Spaggiari

Technicals data