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Morbidelli

Morbidelli logo.jpg
1971 Morbidelli 50cc Grand Prix, written on this 50 cc road racer it still mentions the "Morbidelli Woodworking Machinery"
MBA Morbidelli 125 cc Photo by David Dupont


Morbidelli was an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded by Giancarlo Morbidelli in Pesaro, whose 123 cc racing motorcycles were particularly successful from 1975 to 1980.


History

The firm began as a woodworking shop building furniture and wooden coach bodies for automobiles. Morbidelli's business grew to have 300 employees, however his greater passion lay in motorcycles and motorcycle racing. He used the woodworking business to finance his racing interests.


Racing

In 1969, he entered a team in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championships with a 50 cc machine. He also commissioned the construction of a water cooled disc valve 125 cc two-stroke of Rhingini design. The team won two 125 cc Grand Prix races with Italian rider Gilberto Parlotti at the beginning of the 1972 season but tragedy struck when Parlotti was killed during the Isle of Man TT race.

Despite Parlotti's death, Morbidelli persevered with his racing effort. Starting in 1974 Jorg Muller, previously the designer for Van Veen Kreidler, took over development. In 1975, he was rewarded with his first World Championship when Paolo Pileri won the 125 cc crown. His Morbidelli team-mate, Pier Paolo Bianchi finished in second. Pileri would repeat as 125 cc champion in 1976. The 1977 Grand Prix season would mark the height of Morbidelli's accomplishments when the team won both the 125 and 250 classes. Mario Lega won the 250 crown and Pier Paolo Bianchi would take the 125 honors.

Up until 1978 only team members had Morbidellis, and none were available for sale to private racers. A new factory was built with help from Benelli at Pesaro, called the MBA factory, (Morbidelli-Benelli-Armi), to produce Morbidelli motorcycles of 123 cc and 248 cc in quantity. These were raced successfully for several more years.

Morbidelli would continue in Grand Prix competition until the 1980 season.

Giancarlo Morbidelli's son, Gianni Morbidelli became a successful racecar driver, reaching Formula One where he achieved a podium finish.


1994 Morbidelli 850 V8


Morbidelli V8

In 1994, Morbidelli constructed an innovative shaft drive, five speed, 32 valve, liquid cooled, 847 cc, 90° V8, sport touring motorcycle, but its high price meant it would not be economically feasible to produce. However, because of the bike's exotic design, it would be displayed at the Guggenheim Museums in New York, Bilbao and Las Vegas.


Morbidelli Today

Today the former Morbidelli factory in Pesaro houses a classic motorcycle museum that reminds visitors of the Company's former glory. The complete world championship story is represented among the exhibits as well as many antique motorcycles.



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