Above all, Giorgio Monetti became part of Ducati's history thanks to the "World Tour", an extraordinary, pioneering journey that lasted an entire year (from September '57 to September '58). In his journey, Monetti traveled across all the continents accompanied by friend Tartarini.
Born into a prominent middle-class Bolognese family and the youngest of four brothers, his education was in keeping with the family tradition that deemed boys must study for a degree in Medicine or Law.
However, his rebellious nature immediately led him to seek out an intellectual and physical freedom of his own making. Still very young, he began to explore the roads near home and, subsequently, those of Europe.
His passion was for travelling and adventure: nevertheless he still managed to complete his University studies, which yielded him a degree in Law, obtained after he'd finished his schooling at the Liceo Classico Galvani, one of the city's best grammar schools.
At the age of 16 he began to roam around Europe with his friends by motorcycle and car (Topolino, Belvedere), and was unfettered by any sense of practical or time-related limitations, taking life a day at a tome and simply enjoying the moment, learning as he went, solving problems when they arose.
In addition to his University studies, his journeys and some early forensic experience (gained at the Turchi legal studio) he also managed to dedicate a considerable amount of energy to automobile racing, an arena in which he was able to give free reign to mechanical inventiveness, seeking out original solutions in terms of set-up, engine and tyres.
This passion provided him with considerable experience that would stand him in good stead during his World Tour. After his return to Bologna, as overseas sales network manager at Ducati from 1959 to 1962, he worked in close collaboration with the famed engineer Fabio Taglioni, the head of engine design, with whom he conceived a F1 engine, the true worth of which Ducati, however, failed to
appreciate. The value of the engine was, however, grasped by John Surtees, the world motorcycling champion who would go on to become F1 champion with Ferrari. Surtees wanted to purchase the engine and fit it on a Cooper or Lotus frame to compete in Formula 1. But Fabio Taglioni was opposed to the idea and no agreement was made.
Another outstanding mechanical achievement was the design of the first turbo engine fitted as standard by Fiat. It was his idea, in fact, that led to the production of the turbo-charged engine on the Ritmo 105, an idea that won the acknowledgement of engineer Ghidella, then the top man at Fiat. His international experience and excellent understanding of English allowed him to maintain valuable contact with champions such as Mike Hailwood, who had begun racing and winning (e.g. Tourist Trophy) with none other than Ducati. He was also a close friend of Tarquinio Provini, the world champion who wrote some of the finest pages of Italian motorcycling history.
Monetti's international journeys continued even after the World Tour. He travelled through the Mato Grosso on experimental Pandas built by Fiat and concluded many other journeys all over the world for enjoyment and work. He was also an active environmentalist, and, from 1978 to 1980, a major promoter of the WWF, an association for which he carried out numerous campaigns, the best known of which was in defence of Monte San Pietro, when he clashed with numerous quarrying enterprises intent on extracting devastating quantities of material from the surrounding areas.
After leaving Ducati in 1962 he opened a car dealership for Fiat and Lancia (1963-90), then another for Iveco and Nissan (1991- 2000) before finally retiring.
He's always been keen on farming and still works his fields with tractors and agricultural equipment he maintains himself. His passion for mechanics has never faded. A person with a thousand interests, he has even found the time to restore old belfries and has joined a bell-ringing association.
Today, Monetti would like to repeat the feats of the World Tour. His dream: to sit, once again, on a Ducati and ride it down from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. It would be a glorious finale to a life dedicated to adventure on the world's roadways.