President Napolitano and Minister Bersani at Ducati
It was initially arranged for 22 February but, for reasons relating to a government crisis, the visit was postponed to a later date. True to his promise to the people of Bologna, the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, returned to make his official visit to the city and complete the program he had been constrained to abandon earlier in the year. On Friday the 16th of March, President Napolitano came to the headquarters of Ducati Motor Holding at Borgo Panigale and was received with great enthusiasm by the management and employees.
The visit lasted for around three hours and allowed him to see firsthand a highly important player in the Italian industrial sector whose commercial and sporting achievements have made their typically Italian style, passion and technical innovations renowned throughout the world.
The President arrived in the morning and was welcomed by Federico Minoli, President and CEO of Ducati, who guided him (right) during his visit and explained the various phases of assembly undertaken by the legendary manufacturers of Borgo Panigale.
The President spoke to workers at the production line and showed a great deal of knowledge of the world of motorcycling. A stage had been erected in the main production area that allowed him to give an official address to the entire factory.
"It is a great joy and honor to welcome you to Ducati," said Federico Minoli, President and CEO of Ducati, "a factory consisting of men, women, sounds, smells and feelings that run very deep. It is a very special company, with around 1000 employees, that competes with giants who produce 12 million bikes a year. Yet Ducat is the bike that everyone dreams of owning, using a characteristic technology made in Borgo Panigale that has won races on the track and has reached significant commercial goals. Our success, the Ducati miracle talked about in the press, relies heavily on the interdependence between ourselves and the region of Emilia Romagna, the land of engines. Today, Ducati is stronger than ever, both in the field of racing and, above all, in the commercial sector, thanks to our new innovations and models that have received record orders across the world. We are all very proud of this, for ourselves, for the city, for the province, for the region and also for Italy which you, Mr President, represent today. We thank you again for coming to share this very special occasion with us."
After an address by the union representative on behalf of the employees, the President of the Republic took to the stage and spoke to a crowd who greeted him with warm applause.
"As you know, I should have been here about a month ago," said the President. "Unfortunately, the complexities of Italian politics required me to be in Rome. It is therefore quite a coincidence that I am here only a few days after the victory of Ducati at the grand prix in Qatar, but I am very happy about it. Ducati represents a marvelous reality. The figures for growth and the successes on the international market, as well as those in sport, testify to its excellence. It is from a place of extraordinary success like this that one can draw inspiration that can be transmitted across the entire nation. An example like Ducati can serve as a basis for the competitiveness and dynamism of Italian industry and economic development as a whole. I am particularly impressed by the results that I have been shown relating to safety in the workplace, a terrible matter which I have had to deal with in recent months. With accidents at the workplace having reached unacceptable limits on a national level, I hope that Ducati’s example will be followed in this sense, too. I am very pleased to have met you. Ducati is a part of Emilian pride, a technology made in Borgo Panigale. It has given me great pleasure to hear the dialects of many Southern Italians and to see the faces of quite a few immigrants so well integrated into the factory and the city."
The visit was also the occasion for the presentation of the special Tricolore version of the brand new 1098 to the President and the minister for economic development, Pier Luigi Bersani (right), together with the local authorities and a representative of the industries of Emilia Romagna.
The 1098 S "Tricolore" has now gone into production and is ready to arrive in Ducati stores worldwide where it will show, yet again, the genius, creativity and technology of Ducati.