Claudio Castiglioni decided...
Claudio Castiglioni decided that the F3 should be a 675cc triple following not only in the more recent tire tracks of Triumph’s successful 675 Daytona, but in the tradition of the 500cc and 350cc three-cylinder MV Agusta GP racers that won ten World Championships in the hands of Giacomo Agostini and his teammates.
No motorcycle in recent years has made such a universally positive first impression as the new three-cylinder MV Agusta F3 675 launched at the 2010 EICMA Show in Milan. The F3 made its debut on an ultra-minimalist stand celebrating the Art of the Motorcycle hastily arranged by a company which, three months earlier, had been part of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. But in the meantime, MV Agusta had returned to Italian handsin fact, for the third time in two decades, it had been acquired by the Castiglioni family!
That deal saw MV president Claudio Castiglioni, 65, and his son Giovanni, 29, repurchasing 100 percent of the shares of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A., which they had previously sold to Harley in July, 2008 for $108 million. Harley’s exit came after making a further significant investment of around $60 million in MV Agusta, devoted to cleaning up the balance sheet and underwriting development costs of the two models announced for 2010the heavily revised F4 and 990R/1190RR Brutale duoplus the forthcoming F3. Claudio Castiglioni continues as President of the company, with Giovanni as CEO in charge of day-to-day operations.
The F3 was created by MV Agusta’s British design chief Adrian Morton at the company’s CRC (Centro Ricerche Cagiva) product development base at San Marino. Morton graduated in 1995 from the prestigious industrial design course at London’s Royal College of Art. He then went straight to Italy to work as one of the 50 R&D staff employed at CRC, apprenticed to the venerated Massimo Tamburini. But 18 months later Morton was headhunted by Andrea Merloni, the millionaire former Supersport racer who’d acquired Benelli and wanted Morton to design the new range of three-cylinder sportbikes he planned to develop for sale. The Tornado 900 was entirely Morton’s own work; unfortunately, Merloni sold Benelli in December 2005 to Qianjiang, one of China’s largest motorcycle and scooter manufacturers.
Morton left Benelli in the wake of the Chinese takeover and returned to MV Agusta, rejoining CRC and Tamburini in the summer of 2006. He’s been there ever since, working as the iconic Italian brand’s product development bulwark first alongside Tamburini, then since January, 2009 as chief designer under the overall direction of Claudio Castiglioni after Tamburini opted for retirement following the Harley-Davidson takeover.
Alan Cathcart: Why did you leave Benelli and return to MV Agusta and CRC?
Morton works on a clay model...
Morton works on a clay model of the restyled F4 at CRC. “[It] was like committing sacrilege every day of my life, because it’s not just about re-doing any old motorcycle, but a design icon.”
I worked at Benelli for seven years in total, which was a long time but a happy time. There was only one designer, and that was me, so I was involved with everything there from designing every aspect of each new bike down to the company’s graphics and letterheads and the World Superbike race team livery. So I think the experiences I had there were much more than just as a designer sketching motorcycles, hence it was very rewarding and enjoyable. I found it hard to believe in a future for Benelli in the hands of the Chinese, and events so far have proved me right. But I was promised an interesting future at CRC, because Tamburini told me he was going to retire, that he wanted somebody to continue with the company’s design traditions, and that he felt I was the person who could provide that continuity. I found it rather difficult to readjust, because I’d since been involved with a company where every day you could see what you’d designed appearing on the production line, and now I found myself in a design studio isolated from motorcycles, which were actually being made 250 miles away at the Varese factory.