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Giancarlo Morbidelli: Legendary Constructor of Racing Motorcycles

Giancarlo morbidelli

Giancarlo Morbidelli was born to a family of farmers on October 18, 1934, in Pesaro, Italy. He grew up in an environment where neighbors Benelli and Motobi made history, not only in development but also in competition with their Reparto Corse. His first motorcycle was an Alpino, which he modified with limited resources to achieve better performance. Following his father's suggestion, Giancarlo trained at a technical woodworking school, as there were many furniture companies in Pesaro and nearby, making it likely he could find work as a skilled carpenter.

In 1959, at just 25, he founded his own company, Morbidelli woodworking Machines, developing, manufacturing, and selling woodworking machinery. With his mechanical expertise and business acumen, he built a thriving company in Pesaro over 15 years, with over 350 employees and sales in more than 60 countries. However, Giancarlo had boundless energy, and in addition to running his company, he knew how to pursue his greatest passion: motorcycles.

The first Morbidelli motorcycle was a 60cc model based on a Benelli engine with a modified cylinder and cylinder head, placed in a Bianchi Falco Supersport frame. This bike was ridden by Enzo Lazzarini in the local Cadet races. The first internal Morbidelli racing team, from left to right, included the new technician Sergio Grassini, the young rider Franco Ringhini, Giancarlo Morbidelli, and rider Eugenio Lazzarini. In 1968, they officially began competing for Reparto Corse.


Ringhini and Lazzarini successfully competed in several races with the Morbidelli 50cc, finishing first and second at the Slovenian Grand Prix, and also winning the Italian Championship. This first international victory motivated Morbidelli to create the Morbidelli 125cc, leading them to begin developing a twin-cylinder engine to compete in the 1970 World Championship.


The first official logo used by the Morbidelli racing team.


The Morbidelli team in the 50cc category was established and achieved five podiums out of eight races with Lazzarini and Ringhini. Giancarlo Morbidelli recruited Gilberto Parlotti, who had previously raced the Benelli 250 four-cylinder to help Kel Carruthers win the world championship for Benelli in 1969, to join the 125cc category. In his first year, Parlotti secured three victories: one in the world championship and two in national races. The world championship began in 1970 with Franco Ringhini as a rider and, starting with the Czech Grand Prix, with Gilberto Parlotti (10).


Winning two national races, followed by two second places in the Austrian and German Grand Prix, Parlotti won the Nations Grand Prix in Monza, establishing himself as Morbidelli's top rider. That year, Gilberto Parlotti achieved eighth place in the world championship. Meanwhile, with four victories in the 50cc Italian Championship, Alberto Leva from Rome (104) earned the first star for the Morbidelli team by becoming the 50cc Italian Champion on a Morbidelli.


In 1972, the development of the Morbidelli 50cc models was halted due to the Reparto Corse's focus on developing the 125cc category. Gilberto Parlotti was unstoppable with four consecutive victories in the 125cc class, but at the height of his progress, tragedy struck the Morbidelli team. While leading the world championship, Gilberto Parlotti had a fatal accident at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy in 1972. The Morbidelli team was devastated by his loss but remained resolute and did not stop.


Logo used by the Morbidelli racing team and other racing teams.


Paolo Pileri (41) and Pier Paolo Bianchi (51) secured first and second place in the world championship, dominating the statistics. Of the 16 races in 1975, including those on the world circuit, the Morbidelli team achieved 15 podiums. The championship-winning preparation team included team owner Giancarlo Morbidelli, Jorg Möller, Giancarlo Cecchini, Giancarlo Bonaventura, and Franco Dionigi as mechanics. This Morbidelli team took first place in the constructors' championship against the world's top brands. Paolo Pileri and Pier Paolo Bianchi claimed first and second place in the world championship and, in reverse order, the Italian National Championship.

In late 1975, Giancarlo Morbidelli, Paolo Benelli, and Innocenzo Nardi Dei (Benelli Armi) joined forces to establish a company to mass-produce a replica of the 1975 world-champion Morbidelli 125 and sell it to private teams. This partnership between Giancarlo Morbidelli and the former Benelli Reparto Corse was named MBA, an acronym for Morbidelli Benelli Armi.

The MBA VR 125 was initially manufactured at Benelli Armi's facility in Urbino but later moved to Sant Angelo in Vado in the province of Pesaro-Urbino. This union of two sporting powerhouses would bring more glory and history in the near future.


Pier Paolo Bianchi became the world champion in the 125cc category with the Morbidelli MBA VR125, dominating the statistics just like in 1975. This marked Morbidelli's second world championship. The Morbidelli MBA team secured podium finishes in all nine Grand Prix races, with Pier Paolo Bianchi winning seven of them. For the second consecutive year, Morbidelli won the constructors' championship, Pier Paolo Bianchi became world champion, and Paolo Pileri secured 3rd place in the world championship.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Morbidelli is promoting the creation of the new Morbidelli 250cc and 350cc in his workshops. This development was promoted by Giancarlo based on the 42hp of the 125 improving to 62hp at almost 12,000 rpm with 250cc. The first Morbidelli 250s began to compete and with the help of Pileri and Bianchi achieved six podiums in total and a 2nd place in the Belgian Grand Prix. On August 8, 1976, multiple world champion Giacomo Agostini was invited by Giancarlo Morbidelli to race in the Morbidelli 250 and he achieved a 2nd place in Misano.


In the second year of the Morbidelli 250cc, Paolo Pileri was the only rider set to compete in the World Championship. Unfortunately, due to injuries from a fall, Pileri couldn't start and suggested that Giancarlo Morbidelli invite Mario Lega. Unexpectedly, Mario Lega delivered an exceptional performance, securing only one Grand Prix victory but consistently finishing in nearly all the races. In 1977, he became the world champion in the Morbidelli 250 and earned 3rd place in the constructors' standings.

At the end of 1977, Giancarlo Morbidelli decided to leave MBA as Paolo Benelli wanted to introduce small 50cc MBA mopeds to the Italian market. Giancarlo Morbidelli had enough responsibilities managing his woodworking machinery business and the Morbidelli racing team, with no interest in starting a motorcycle business. The MBA acronym remained, but instead of Morbidelli Benelli Armi, it now stood for Moto Benelli Armi.


Earlier this year, Giancarlo Morbidelli introduced his final masterpiece for racing: the incredible Morbidelli 500cc, featuring four cylinders arranged in a box with rotary valves and a twin crankshaft. This engine produced a staggering 130 horsepower at 11,500 rpm. The first version had a tubular frame, but the 500cc's raw power required a monocoque aluminum frame, with the fuel tank integrated into it and the engine hanging beneath.


The entry of the Pesaro rider named Graziano Rossi marked a new era. Having just become the father of a future legend named Valentino, he found inspiration and managed to secure three Grand Prix victories and two more podium finishes with the Morbidelli 250cc. Despite various challenges, Graziano Rossi scored 67 points compared to Ballington's 141 and finished '79 with a well-deserved third place. Giancarlo Morbidelli focused entirely on the 500cc, forming a team with Graziano Rossi and Giovanni Pelletier from Rome.


Morbidelli returned to his passion and delighted two-wheel enthusiasts with his new masterpiece: an incredible Morbidelli 850cc with a V8 engine and design by Pininfarina. This sport-touring model showcased the incredible engine that achieved 120 horsepower at 11,000 rpm. Only four units were made due to its exorbitant cost.


Having established a museum with over 400 historic motorcycles and the largest collection of racing machines, Giancarlo Morbidelli focused on developing a V12 motorcycle. Time wasn't on his side to complete it, although the engine was in the final stages. In early 2020, at the age of 85, Giancarlo Morbidelli passed away, leaving behind legends, stories, and records worthy of a Hollywood film.

In 2021, MBP was founded in Bologna, Italy.

MBP Moto S.r.l. was founded in 2021 with capital from the Keeway Group, with the aim and vision of continuing the legendary and iconic motorcycling legacy left by its founder, Giancarlo Morbidelli. Strategically choosing Bologna as its headquarters, MBP began establishing operations and initiating its brand acquisition process.


At EICMA 2022, MBP Moto unveiled a series of prototypes that redefined motorcycle design, instantly capturing the attention of the global motorcycling community. Their innovative and striking designs at this event established MBP Moto as a trailblazer, earning widespread acclaim and setting new standards in the industry. In the same year, sales began for the first motorcycles under the MBP emblem, the M502N and C1002V.


At EICMA 2023, MBP Moto unveiled its new prototypes, its HYPEVISION electric concept, and the 2024 lineup of models. The brand has gradually expanded its sales presence in China, Italy, and Spain, where the Keeway Group's main offices operate.



After the Keeway Group acquired the brand, MBP was renamed and introduced the new Morbidelli emblem, inspired by its rich racing heritage. The black background symbolizes sophistication and elegance, while the white accents highlight speed and precision. "MORBIDELLI" arcs around the central circle like a beacon of the brand's heritage and its drive into the future.

Crowning the emblem, the laurel leaves represent a legacy of glory and triumph, paying homage to Morbidelli's distinguished racing past while reaffirming a commitment to excellence. Vibrant red symbolizes passion, while blue infuses Morbidelli's spirit into our motorcycles, apparel, and showrooms, all pulsing with the energy of competition.


It's more than just a slogan—it's the heart of a brand where craftsmanship merges with the thrill of the journey. It's about the joy of riding a motorcycle, the bond between rider and road, and the legacy of performance and Italian racing spirit. Morbidelli isn't just about motorcycles; it's about the experiences and adventures they bring to life. This slogan invites riders to join a story of passion, freedom, and the art of motorcycling with every turn.

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