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MV Agusta celebrates 75th anniversary

MV Agusta RVS#1 RVS heritage f4 testing
MV Agusta factory

MV Agusta will officially celebrate its 75th anniversary on June 20-21 at its factory on the shores of the beautiful Lake Varese in northern Italy.

If you’re a fan, we recommend booking your flights now as the Italian lake region is not only beautiful, but is blessed with excellent roads for riding motorcycles.

The company sent out a potted history (attached below) which concludes with a vision of the future where they listen to customers and promise new models, faster spare parts delivery and an expended sales network.

Troubled times

MV Agusta has gone through some tough financial times over the past few years.

It had a rocky relationship with AMG Mercedes ownership, developed terribly slow spare parts delivery and did not produce any new models, only limited editions of their ageing fleet.

New boss Timur Sardarov took over from Giovanni Castiglioni in 2018.

Giovanni Castiglioni and Timur Sardarov

Timur is the founder of Russian investment company, Black Ocean Group, which rescued the company in 2017.

He set up the Nevada Burning Man festival and is the son of oil tycoon Rashid Sardarov who was mentioned in the Panama Papers and has links to Russian mafia lawyers.

Last year, the Sardarov family acquired 100% of the company’s capital and Timur announced a five-year plan to build new bikes and improve its service.

However, we are yet to see a truly new motorcycle from MV and have not heard any reports of improved parts delivery in Australia.

At EICMA in Milan, they unveiled the beautiful Superveloce 800 which is based on the F3 and they returned the Brutale 1000RR to the fleet and added the Rush which is basically a limited-edition version of the Brutale 1000 RR.

Future vision

However, Timur is promising more than 20 new models in the next five years to increase their sales to 25,000 a year.

But don’t expect a lot of new flagship models.

Instead, like Harley and Triumph, they are partnering with Asian companies to make cheaper, smaller-capacity versions mainly for Asian markets.

MV Agusta sell-out to the bottom russian boss
MV Agusta in joint agreement with Chinese

In July 2019, Timur announced a partnership with Chinese Loncin Motor to make 350-500cc motorcycles.

Timur says being the boss at the historic 75th anniversary is “exciting and challenging”.

“I consider it a great privilege, and also a great responsibility, but looking back at MV Agusta’s legacy, I know we are standing on the shoulders of a giant, and this gives me great pride and confidence in breaking new ground every day, launching innovative technology, new incredible models, and expanding into markets we have never entered before.”

MV Agusta 75th anniversary historyMV Agusta 75th anniversary

Here is the unedited MV Agusta version of its history to mark its 75th anniversary:

It all started on January 19, 1945, with the establishment of Meccanica Verghera Srl in Cascina Costa, near today’s Malpensa international airport. The Agusta family, pioneers of the aviation industry, unable to continue manufacturing aeroplanes in the aftermath of WWII, turned to motorcycles to express their passion for speed, adrenaline and precision engineering. Legend has it that the first model, a 98 cc, was due to be called “Vespa”, but the name was already taken, so it went down in history simply as the MV98.

The Agustas also knew how to convert their racing motorcycles into successful production road models for a public of passionate enthusiasts, and started right from the beginning with a luxury version of the 98 that made a sensation at the 1947 Milan Trade Fair. Since then, every new MV Agusta model made its mark in the history of motorcycling, and still today the launch of a new model or range is a much awaited event.

Count Domenico Agusta had a knack for hiring the best riders, most of which became legends of the sport: Franco Bertoni, MV’s first rider, followed by Arcisio Artesiani, Carlo Ubbiali the “flying chinaman”, Leslie Graham, Cecil Sandford, Fortunato Libanori, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Gianfranco Bonera, Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read. Throughout the 30 years of the Agusta era, the history of their victories intersects with the launches of equally legendary and successful MV Agusta production models.

The partnership with Giacomo Agostini was the most celebrated in the history of motorcycling: in his career, “Ago” won 13 Wold Championships, 18 Italian titles and 10 Isle of Man’s TTs.

Count Domenico passed in 1971, and after Agostini’s last victory at the Nürburgring in 1976, the destiny of MV Agusta seemed to have come to an end, until the Castiglioni family decided to give it a new lease of life. In 1992, Claudio Castiglioni’s Cagiva acquired the MV Agusta brand and moved production to its facility on the shores of lake Varese, in Schiranna, where MV Agusta motorcycles are still produced today.

MV Agusta 75th anniversary
Claudio Castiglioni and F4 designer Massimo Tamburini

Under the visionary guidance of Claudio Castiglioni the brand never ceased to represent Italy’s best motorcycling tradition and even acquired further prestige and recognition. Castiglioni single-handedly revolutionised the motorcycle industry, heavily investing in R&D and in production.

The four-cylinder, 750cc F4 was the first bike of the new era, and also the first superbike. It is still considered “the best looking bike ever”. Claudio also invented the concept of the “naked” bike, a new paradigm in the motorcycling world.

MV Agusta 75th anniversary
Giovanni Castiglioni in front of a photo of his father, Claudio

After his premature death in 2011, his son Giovanni succeeded him at the helm and continued in the family’s pioneering tradition.  He actively sought and developed partnerships with world-class names such as Pirelli and Formula1 champion Lewis Hamilton to further broaden the reach and the appeal of the brand. Giovanni was behind the creation of the “Brutale”, the ultimate naked, and the F3, the best middle-weight sports bike with an inline-three cylinders engine and a counter-rotating crankshaft. Under his guidance, other remarkable models such as the Dragster and the Turismo Veloce, an opening into the tourers’ world, as well as successive evolutions of the F3 and F4, were acclaimed both by critics and motorcycling enthusiasts.

MV Agusta 75th anniversary
Timur Sardarov

In 2017, the company was ready for a new important step in its history of continuing growth, and new capital was brought in by ComSar Invest, a Luxembourg company belonging to a family of entrepreneurs who share the same pioneering spirit and passion for speed as the Agustas and the Castiglionis. After an initial and successful partnership phase, in 2019 the Sardarov family acquired 100% of the company’s capital and Timur Sardarov, MV Agusta’s present CEO, was ready to take on a leading role.