AC: On your return to CRC, what did you start working on first?
A fully adjustable Marzocchi...
A fully adjustable Marzocchi inverted fork is fitted along with a similarly adjustable Sachs shock, while the Brembo brakes feature radially mounted four-piston calipers gripping 310mm front discs via a Nissin radial master cylinder.
The first project I worked on with Tamburini was a restyle of the F4 Brutale, which was incredibly difficult—how to make it look fresh and different without losing its essential character. Working as a designer at Benelli I’d had so much freedom to do completely new things, and now I found myself in a very restricted conceptual space, working on something that needed to be refreshed without actually changing very much, with the guy who designed it the first time around looking over my shoulder! I didn’t want to change anything fundamental like the frame, and so it ended up being quite a difficult project. Tamburini wanted the bike to return to its origins, so all the things that made it different were almost taken back a step, whereas I thought it would’ve been better to push it forward a bit more.
AC: Your next project was presumably the revamped F4.
AM: Yes, but again it was a huge fight to incorporate the changes that were actually made, although Tamburini had left by the time this project was finalized so it’s much more my own work. However, the new F4 was significant because it was the start of a transition period within MV Agusta after Harley-Davidson came in and Tamburini had announced he was retiringbut in the midst of all this we had a project to do, after eleven years of not touching the F4 visually.
Massimo Bordi (right) is best...
Massimo Bordi (right) is best known for creating the desmoquattro engine that helped make Ducati what it is today. He left Ducati in 2000 to join Same Deutz-Fahr, an Italian-based manufacturer of agricultural equipment, but has now returned to the motorcycle industry at MV Agusta as Chief Operating Officer, thus renewing his previous decade-long collaboration with Claudio Castiglioni (left) that proved so successful in turning Ducati around.
The F3 was straight afterwards, so we were right out of one project and straight into another onebut to fill the big void that Tamburini left behind him after retiring, I now had Claudio Castiglioni as design director. Claudio had stayed out of hands-on involvement with CRC, with all the upheaval after Harley took over and with getting things moving again in Varese. But now he wanted to become more involved with product R&D, and so every couple of weeks he was in San Marino and we’d sit down together to discuss the project in detail, which was really nice.
AC: Was Tamburini involved in any way with the design of the F3?
AM: Absolutely not. He saw it for the first time the day before the EICMA show last November, when I had the honor of showing him an MV Agusta motorcycle that he’d never seen before, that he had essentially brought me to CRC to design. We’ve got some really great engineers at MV Agusta, and I believe they’ve been more involved in creating the F3 than any other model the company has ever made since it was resurrected, because I worked closely with them in designing the bike rather than presenting them with a fait accompli and telling them that’s the way it has to be.
Tamburini wandered around it, lit up a cigarette, walked around it again. He said, Well, I have to start by saying something negative about thisand then he didn’t really say anything negative about it at all! He made a few technical comments about the swingarm, but honestly, he was really positive—though he did say he didn’t think I would have pushed the design envelope as much as this, which is interesting because I don’t think it’s gone far enough!
“Claudio Castiglioni has been...
“Claudio Castiglioni has been heavily involved all along the way,” says Morton of the F3’s design. “Right from the beginning he insisted on having the triple exhausts stacked on the right side, as well as having a very specific list of other things he wanted. He wanted the bike to have a strong family feeling, and especially the face of the bike, the front fairing.”
“I had to use the same frame...
“I had to use the same frame plates concept again, because that’s an MV trademark,” says Morton. “But I had to do something a little bit different, so I ended up wrapping them together in the middle. They were getting so close to one another for a small bike, so I thought — let’s make two separate plates and join them together.”
The F3’s extremely compact...
The F3’s extremely compact 12-valve three-cylinder motor with 120-degree crank and composite gear/chain camshaft drive does not have the radial valves of the F4 engine — there simply wasn’t the space available. The motor is more compact than the comparable Triumph 675 design and has its cylinders inclined more steeply forward.
Giovanni Castiglioni is a graduate of the London Business School who joined MV Agusta in 2002 as Director of Communication after working in the USA for a year with the company’s importer, Eraldo Ferracci. But this has now been sidelined in favor of his new full-time responsibilities in charge of day-to-day operations for MV Agusta, and the chance to talk to him revealed a man with a clear idea of where the company is headed.
Alan Cathcart: At what stage did you become involved with your family’s dealings with Harley-Davidson about repurchasing MV Agusta from them?
Giovanni Castiglioni: I was involved from stage one. I was the one who dealt directly with Harley-Davidson over a nine-month period—and it was quite a tough nine months, but we managed to succeed in taking MV back again, on terms that were satisfactory for us.