Whatever Happened To...Ducati Engineer Massimo Bordi?

The legendary Ducati engineer is dedicated to tractors now

By Karissa Wang, Photography by Courtesy of Same Deutz-Fahr

Today, Massimo Bordi serves as CEO of Italian tractor manufacturer Same Deutz-Fahr-a position with which he is very satisfied, thank you very much. The former Ducati General Manager and Chief Engineer was offered the position of Ducati CEO as recently as two years ago and passed, suggesting his friend Gabriele Del Torchio for the position instead. "I am much happier where I am," Bordi says. "The agriculture and diesel engine business is very interesting to me."

That's not to say he didn't once want the position; in fact, he wanted it so badly that he attempted a merger of the Harley-Davidson and Ducati brands. "Just before I left Ducati in 2001, I spoke with the management team of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee. I wanted to convince Harley to buy Ducati and keep me on as CEO. But they didn't want to do it because, from their point of view at that time, it would dilute the image of a strong American brand. I did not succeed, and I left Ducati."

Bordi started at Ducati in 1978, fresh out of the University of Bologna, where the Desmoquattro cylinder head design was his graduate thesis project. His ideas eventually led to the creation of Ducati's first liquid-cooled, eight-valve Superbike, the 851. Bordi also worked alongside Miguel Galluzzi to create the Monster, but his most famous collaboration was with Massimo Tamburini on the legendary 916.

Bordi is perfectly content at Same Deutz-Fahr, and remains circumspect about his relationship with Ducati. "I can tell you very openly, it's like when you love someone a lot and you have to leave her," he says. "It's better to stay away. I was really, really sorry when I left Ducati. It could be now that I am trying to keep it far away."

By Karissa Wang
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