(Translated from Spanish, a little hard to follow but it's a good piece on Ducati engine evolution and history)
With the new Panigale, Ducati has broken with a quarter-century of evolution of their first desmodromic four-valve engine based on the Pantah born in 1980, the last great work of Fabio Taglioni.
Ducati has had throughout its history a few models that have now become almost myth, but there is no doubt that all of them, propelled by its engines desmodromic distribution V2 are those who have taken the place it now occupies.
With the new Panigale (or 1199 or Superquadro, whatever you call it), it starts a cycle, a new period that closes the engine was that he gave Ducati its greatest glory and his greatest sporting successes. The series began with the 851 has undergone three changes in appearance, which led to the 916/996/998 series, then the 999, and finally the 1098 and 1198, that concludes the story.
If Taglioni was the creator of desmodromic system on motorcycle engines, Massimo Bordi has been the engineer who has managed to keep on the crest of the wave in 'modern times'. Until the arrival of the Panigale the basis of all engine Ducati has come from the architecture began with the legendary Pantah. These engines had been created at the end of the year 70 to equip half cylinder bikes, but were increasing capacity from the original 500 cc to over 900 cc, at the end of the decade, and more so in modern times, as they maintain their structure throughout the range of two air-cooled valve signature.
However, the 80's were a decade of technical brilliance, the Japanese discovered the art of making great sport, good chassis combined with powerful engines, and twin cylinder air-cooled two-valve cylinder heads of Ducati could not be more desmodromic system that they had with bikes like the Yamaha FZ , the GSX-R or soon after, with the Honda RC30 .
One such Massimo Bordi back in 1978 had graduated with a thesis on a four-valve engine desmodromic . He had begun to take information and drawings provided by Taglioni in 1973 and 1974 and had designed a air cooled engine with dual spark plug rocker and centered in the head.
Bordi, a motor enthusiast, was in love with the four-valve Cosworth cylinder heads, pistons with flat, small angle between valves, its inlet plug straight and centered, about eight-cylinder engines that Ferrari won the 12. And so was desmodromic system of Taglioni, so I decided to merge the two concepts. Bordi came in 1978 in Ducati , but at the time the mark was made in a state conglomerate of companies, started work on diesel engines, and there he remained until the arrival of the Castiglioni in 1985, when it was fished to take over the direction technique.
Claudio Castiglioni was quite clear, it was necessary to do something to replace a Ducati as a leader in engines, and it became clear Massimo, the solution was to bring his thesis to the engine then. It was not possible to create a new engine, not just a matter of budget, but because all the industrial structure of production was based on the Pantah engines , and could not replace machinery, molds, tools, etc.. More here: http://www.motociclismo.es/pruebas/carretera/articulo/evolucion-de-los-demosquattro-de-ducati