This Italian Motorcycle Legend is making a comeback.

Been a few decades since the last time any motorcycle wore the Morbidelli badge but thanks to the Chinese-owned Motorcycle Maker Keeway that problem is taken care of.

Qianjiang Group has acquired the historic Motorcycle Brand Morbidelli an Italian Motorcycle maker that was quite prominent in the Grand Prix scene in the late ’60s and all of the 1970s – winning a plethora of races in multiple classes and multiple championships.

Before getting into the Company itself, let’s get the dry details out of the way- The acquisition of Morbidelli, in essence, is done by Keeway Motors a Hungarian-based motorcycle maker now owned by Qj Motors one of the largest motorcycle producers in China, Qianjiang motors also owns another fabled Italian Motorcycle Manufacturer “Benelli” and has somewhat stabilised its dwindling fortunes.

This acquisition was in the pipeline since 2022 when it was reported that Morbidelli MBP and Morbidelli MBP Pesaro logos were registered in Honk Kong by Powerlink, a company that is closely related to Keeway Motors which is owned by Qianjiang Motor Group.

Keeway Motors has made this acquisition through MBP ” Moto Bologna Passioni” another offshoot brand of Qianjiag Motors which on paper comes directly under the supervision of Keeway Motors, and it’ll be renamed as Morbidelli MBP. Although originally when the Morbidelli brand came into existence it was based in Pesaro, Italy hometown of the owner and founder Giancarlo Morbidelli – however the newly revived operations of the Morbidelli brand will run its efforts from Bologna as the name MBP suggests.

In Bologna a new research and development centre is being built ” to explore new technologies and materials, improving the design and performance of Italian motorcycles excellence, in the name of Heritage and passion by Giancarlo Morbidelli,” says Morbidelli MBP in their press release.

The new brand’s range will consist of scooters ranging from 125cc and 500cc and motorcycles starting as low as 125cc to 1,000cc. An electric range is set to be revealed in 2025, and Morbidelli MBP is targeting the US, Europe, and Chinese markets to begin with. MBP’s current range consists of bikes such as the C1002V cruiser and M502N naked it is yet to be seen if the existing models will be rebranded to Morbidelli MBP or if a new batch of motorcycles will take over.

Dante Bustos, CMO of Keeway Group, said: “This acquisition is a testament to MBP Moto’s aspiration for excellence in the motorcycle industry. We are thrilled to welcome a historic premium brand like Morbidelli into our family. It will allow us to blend the legacy of racing and made in Italy craftsmanship with our vision of the future of motorcycling. Our passion for innovation, combined with Morbidelli’s rich heritage, will lead to the creation of motorcycles with an unrivalled blend of performance, design and history.

By now you have come across certain words “Heritage” and “passion”, so, what is so esteemed about this brand that has been anonymous for decades?

Much like other brands hailing from Italy, the brand was born out of passion and lust for pure excellence of a man from Pesaro Italy, who had a humble beginning – Giancarlo Morbidelli, was born to a family with fairly mediocre means to live by, but Morbidelli, persevered and attended a vocational school and worked at a mechanical workshop where he honed his skills mechanical works.

Later on, he was hired as a lecturer and held onto this job for about five years, during this time he harnessed his skills in machinery and started to work on agriculture machinery and Motor vehicles during his leisure Time and also managed occasionally race Motorcycles in enduro races whenever he had spare time.

In the late 1950’s he decided to set up his own Woodworking and constructions machine tools and the business was thriving within a few years of its existence – owing to this success and his workshop running in automated mode with close to 300 employees, he had more than enough spare time and change to indulge in his lifelong passion of Motorcycles and then take them Racing.

In the year 1969 Morbidelli decided to build a motorcycle of his design and to accomplish this, he hired an engine designer and go-kart racer Franco Ringhini to run his race shop from a small corner of his woodworking machine plant.

The First Motorcycle racer developed by Morbidelli & Co. was a 50cc racer, it was a 2-stroke cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox, which scored first ever Grand Prix points for the Morbidelli at the hands of Eugenio Lazzarini by finishing 10th in Dutch TT and some subsequent rounds Morbidelli achieved their first one-Two points finish – in short it was a fair start to Morbidelli’s endeavours.

With, formidable form and a strong finish to their debut season, in In1970 Morbidelli took the bold step and progressed up the stronger 125cc class along with 50cc, their 125cc racer was a two-cylinder design that took Morbidelli and team to their first-ever victory at Brno that year in the capable hands of Gilberto Parlotti and in that same season Morbidelli bike took victory at their home soil in Monza in front of some celebrated riders such as Barry Sheene and Angel Nieto.

In 1972, Morbidelli and Gilberto Parlotti were on track to winning their first-ever World Championship in 125cc class, before the tragedy struck at the Isle of Man where Gilberto Parlotti was leading the pack with a considerable margin but lost control and crashed – he was airlifted to the hospital but was declared Dead on arrival.

The loss of his Starlet Rider did hamper their progress for that season, but the future also looked bleak, Morbidelli and his team bounced back in 1974 and marked one of their best run of form when Morbidelli hired Rider Paolo Pileri and race engineer Jorg Muller and Upcoming star Pier Paolo Bianchi to ride alongside Pileri this season with this combination came together and in next year they won the 1975 season in 125cc class with Pileri with Paolo Bianchi finishing second in subsequent seasons Paolo took the reins and ran with it winning more championships.


Before 1976 Morbidelli was a private constructor keeping their treasured bikes to themselves, but that was dealt with when Morbidelli and Benelli Armi an arms manufacturer from Pesaro shook hands to build a new factory to produce Morbidelli’s Motorcycles in mass quantity, the merger went on to be called MBA (Morbidelli -Benelli Armi) and the bikes produced were sold to numerous other private teams to race them and were quite successful for years to come.

It was in 1977 when the team was at its Zenithwinningg both 125cc class and 250cc class with Paolo taking the 125 honours and Mario Lega winning the latter.

The Newly merged Team MBA won the subsequent season in 125cc class but in 1982’s company’s spearhead and founder Giancarlo Morbidelli left the company to focus on other devours – one of them being his son Gianni Morbidelli’s racing career in four wheels – who went on to race in F1 for few years and snatched a podium during that time.


After being absent from the Motorcycle scene Giancarlo Morbidelli decided to play his best hand in 1992 when the infamous Morbidelli V8 started to take shape – Morbidelli V8 was designed by Pininfarina but the earlier designs were so unpopular with the Engineers and the public that the design kept changing until 1996, were the design was finalized.

Morbidelli V8 was an innovative Machine with an ingenious shaft drive, a five-speed, liquid-cooled 848cc 90°-degree V8 capable of doing speeds of up to 230km/h.

Sadly, the development cost alone for this innovative and striking Motorcycle exceeded 80 million Liras per motorcycle and the overall budget went over 4 billion for three prototypes which is equivalent to 3 million euros today and the production plans were shelved. Moreover, in 2001, The Guinness Book of World Records included Morbidelli V8 as the most expensive motorcycle in the world.

This Innovative and Unique motorcycle is on display in three different museums – Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham USA, The Art of the Motorcycle at the Guggenheim Museum in New York USA and Morbidelli’s Museum the Morbidelli Museum in Pesaro, Italy.

Morbidelli’s story of success in grand prix racing was a fact of a David amongst the Goliaths of the time – sadly time was Morbidelli’s biggest enemy for all the passion and success he has achieved with a fairly mediocre team and taking the fight to Leaders of the game and winning it convincingly was something that shall be forever etched in the books of Grand Prix History.

Keeway bringing Back this brand from depths of extinction is something to be commended and immense respect to them for realising historical prominence of the name Morbidelli.

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