Giancarlo Morbidelli, one of the most successful motorcycle designers in late-’70s GP racing, has died.
Morbidelli had a long career designing motorcycles; his first racebike designs (based around a 50 cc engine) hit the track in the late ’60s, and by the mid-’70s, his bikes were winning in the 125 and 250 GP classes.
Morbidelli’s bikes won the 1975-1977 125 titles, and the 1977 250 title. A later team-up with Benelli brought two more production titles in 1979 and 1980.
In later years, Morbidelli won acclaim for his revolutionary 847 cc V8 touring bike, touted by Guinness as the most expensive motorcycle in the world in 2001. Although sales never took off, you can still see examples in museums, and one was displayed in the Guggenheim’s famous Art of the Motorcycle collection.
One of those machines was in Morbidelli’s own motorcycle museum. He converted his former factory in Pesaro into a home for his extensive collection, which was sold off last year. Many of them are coming up for auction this spring.
His death came after an extensive illness. He was 85 years old.